CLEVELAND — Terry Francona is 57 years old and has managed nearly 2,600 games in the big leagues.
He has seen, as the saying goes, everything.
Until Friday morning.
That was when Francona’s cellphone started “blowing up” with calls from Indians president Chris Antonetti telling the Cleveland manager that his scheduled ALCS Game 2 starter, Trevor Bauer, would be unable to pitch.
Josh Tomlin, who pitched well at Fenway Park in Game 3 of the Indians’ ALDS sweep of the Red Sox, will start in Bauer’s place.
The righthanded Bauer, known as a free spirit of sorts — “quirky’’ works well, too — injured himself earlier in the morning while fixing his drone, suffering a right pinkie laceration that required 10 stitches to close.
“You know, it’s kind of self-explanatory,” Francona said Friday night before ALCS Game 1 against the Blue Jays at Progressive Field. “I think we’ve all, probably everybody in here at some point or another, had a drone-related problem.”
At this point, the Indians can joke about the injury, given that the prevailing opinion is that Bauer will be OK in time to start Game 3.
But the wound on the top of his pinkie will need to close by Monday. It is against the rules for him to pitch with any kind of bandage.
“The challenge for the doctors will be to make sure this thing, by the time he pitches, has healed enough where it’s not bleeding,” Francona said.
The manager said Dr. Thomas Graham, a hand specialist, evaluated Bauer and told the team the extra time should be enough.
“We’re fortunate that Dr. Graham is actually here in Cleveland, and he’s one of the best probably in the world,” Francona said. “And he’s really confident that by the time his turn comes around [Monday], he’ll be OK.”
Bauer went 12-8 with a 4.26 ERA this season and started ALDS Game 1. He allowed three runs and six hits in 4 2⁄3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead, which Andrew Miller protected, throwing two scoreless innings.
Tomlin, who went 13-9 with a 4.40 ERA, allowed two runs and four hits in five innings in the Game 3 victory.
Tomlin learned of the switch from pitching coach Mickey Callaway via text Friday morning before leaving for the ballpark.
“It really doesn’t affect me at all,” Tomlin said. “It will be on my fifth day, I’ll be on normal rest. When I found out I was going tomorrow, I stuck to the game plan that I was going to do Monday.”
Francona, who lost top-flight starters Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar to injuries late in the regular season, said he isn’t upset with Bauer.
“This was not malicious. He wasn’t doing something that . . . I mean, he could have been opening a box in the kitchen,” Francona said. “Things happen. It wasn’t done by being silly.”
Said Tomlin: “It’s just that mindset of this isn’t the first obstacle we’ve had to overcome. So face it head on.”
Not to mention with a dash of humor.
Francona was in the shower when Antonetti tried to contact him.
“Chris was like, ‘Call me,’ ” Francona said, shaking his head. “You could have given me a lot of guesses, and I wouldn’t have probably gotten this one.”