Mercer Island native, an ex-Mariner, signs with Guardians

Jun 29, 2024, 4:28 PM | Updated: 4:28 pm

Cleveland Guardians sign Matthew Boyd, a Mercer Island native...

Matthew Boyd of the Seattle Mariners pitches during the eighth inning of a 2022 game. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Guardians signed free agent left-hander Matthew Boyd, a Mercer Island native, to a major league contract for the remainder of the season, an addition that will give the AL Central leaders some added pitching depth and protection.

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Boyd, though, is still recovering from undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery last year, and won’t be ready to join the Guardians until at least August. Boyd has progressed to throwing live batting practice.

“We don’t have a specific timetable at this point,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Saturday on a Zoom call. “But Matt’s been a very effective major league starter when he’s healthy and we believe he can be a boost to our rotation and add some depth for us as we advance here through the season.”

Boyd was shut down last season after making 15 starts with Detroit. The 33-year-old agreed to a deal earlier this week with Cleveland and passed medical tests.

The Guardians were one of more than a dozen teams to attend a recent workout to see Boyd’s progress.

Boyd is 44-67 with a 4.94 ERA in 160 starts since breaking in with Toronto in 2020. He spent seven seasons with the Tigers and one with Seattle before re-signing with Detroit in 2023.

Due to injuries, he’s been limited to just 52 games over the past four seasons.

The Guardians, who have dropped three straight games and the first two of their four-game series in Kansas City, could be in the market for more starting pitching as the trading deadline approaches.

Before then, the team will get a boost as Gavin Williams is set to join the rotation after hurting his elbow in spring training.

The hard-throwing 24-year-old was expected to have a major role with Cleveland this season before he got hurt throwing a weighted ball in March. Williams made his sixth rehab start on Thursday for Triple-A Columbus, making 82 pitches in four innings.

Antonetti said the team will create a roster spot before Sunday’s game for Williams, a former first-round pick who went 3-5 in 15 starts as a rookie last season.

“We’ll have to continue to be thoughtful with him as we build up his progression,” Antonetti said. “He won’t be on an unrestricted plan moving forward like a typical starter, but we think he’s at a point now where he’s able to help us win games.”’

Antonetti also addressed Triston McKenzie’s recent struggles. The right-hander had his third straight rough outing on Friday, allowing five runs and five hits in just 2 1/3 innings as Cleveland lost 10-3.

McKenzie hasn’t gone more than three innings in his last three starts. He’s 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA in 16 starts.

“It’s been inconsistent with Triston at times,” Antonetti said. “We have seen him make progress with how his body’s moving and some of the delivery work he’s been doing with our coaches, but it’s not yet to a point where it’s translated to consistent results in the game.”

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Mercer Island native, an ex-Mariner, signs with Guardians