Guardians option reliever James Karinchak to minors after latest ineffective outing

FILE - Cleveland Guardians relief pitcher James Karinchak (99) reacts after New York Mets' Pete Alonso hit a grand slam in the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, May 19, 2023, in New York. Karinchak has been optioned to the minor leagues, Saturday, June 10, 2023, following his latest ineffective outing. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Guardians reliever James Karinchak has been optioned to the minor leagues following his latest ineffective outing.

The team made the move on Saturday, a day after the right-hander allowed one run and walked two in the eighth inning of the Guardians' 10-9, 14-inning comeback win over the Houston Astros.

The 27-year-old Karnichak will go to Triple-A Columbus to work on mechanics and doing a better job of controlling the opponent's running game. Before leaving, he got in one last workout at Progressive Field ahead of Saturday's game.

“Not an easy decision, not a fun conversation,” manager Terry Francona said. “As you can imagine, the hope is he can take this couple weeks and work on commanding the strike zone, working on holding runners. He probably didn’t feel like hearing that today.”

The Guardians brought up left-hander Tim Herrin to take his roster spot. This is Herrin's third stint with the club in 2023.

Karinchak is 2-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 32 games this season. He has been a mainstay Francona's bullpen the past four seasons.

But he has struggled to deal with the new pitch-clock rules, and Karinchak, who is as well known for his twitchiness on the mound as his curveball, has not been as sharp in recent appearances.

He has walked 19 in 27 2/3 innings.

“We need him throwing in innings of leverage,” Francona said. "But if you are walking people and you’re not controlling the running game, there’s too many ways for other teams to score that run when you can’t afford a run.

“And then there’s other things where the pitch count’s so high that we have to get somebody up. It’s more than just an ERA. There’s a lot more that goes into it.”


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