Otero (shoulder) will begin a rehab assignment with Short-Season Mahoning Valley on Monday, Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports. Otero has been on the shelf since June 2 due to right shoulder inflammation, but it's a good sign that he's ready to go out on a rehab stint. He's been out of commission for over a month, so it wouldn't be surprising if he needed at least a few appearances in the minors to get back up to speed.
The Indians placed Otero on the 10-day injured list Sunday with right shoulder inflammation, Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports. Otero will head to the IL for the first time in his eight-year big-league career after apparently succumbing to the shoulder issue during his most recent appearance Thursday against the White Sox, who lit him up for four runs in 1.2 innings. The Tribe recalled Josh Smith from Triple-A Columbus in a corresponding move to provide the big club with an extra long-relief arm.
Otero tossed a perfect inning and struck out one on the way to his first save of the year Friday against the Rangers. Otero needed just seven pitches to retire the side in order. Through 37 relief appearances in 2018, the 33-year-old right-hander has accrued a 5.45 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 27 strikeouts over 36.1 innings.
Otero signed a two-year extension with the Indians on Tuesday which includes a team option for 2020, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. The two sides struck a deal last week for 2018, but they reworked things Tuesday, covering Otero's remaining two arb years and possibly a year of free agency. While Otero averaged just 5.7 K/9 last season and struggled against lefties (.364 wOBA), he did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground (63.5 percent) and limiting free passes to right-handers. The 32-year-old will work primarily in the middle innings again next season.
Otero agreed to a one-year deal for $1.3 million with the Indians on Friday, avoiding arbitration. Otero appeared in 52 games out of the bullpen for the Indians in 2017, posting a 2.85 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over the course of 60 innings. He will slot back into the middle of Cleveland's reliable bullpen, and should be in line for another 60-70 innings of work this upcoming year.