Guardians activate RHP Gavin Williams, option RHP Triston McKenzie

Cleveland right-hander Gavin Williams is set to make season debut after the Guardians activated him Sunday from the 60-day injured list.

Williams, 24, strained his right elbow after two starts in spring training in March.

In corresponding moves, the Guardians optioned another right-handed starter, Triston McKenzie, to Triple-A Columbus, and designated right-hander Darren McCaughan for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster for Williams.

Cleveland’s first-round pick at 23rd overall in the 2021 MLB Draft out of East Carolina, Williams was the franchise’s top prospect and No. 16 overall by MLB Pipeline when he made his major league debut in 2023. He was 3-5 with a 3.29 ERA, 37 walks and 81 strikeouts with a 1.26 WHIP in 16 games (all starts) as a rookie.

Williams was 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA, seven walks and 24 strikeouts over 17 innings in six rehabilitation assignment starts this season at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. His rehab assignment had expired and he had to be activated from IL before the Guardians played the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

Chris Antonetti, Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, told reporters on Saturday that he has seen good reports on Williams.

“He’s built up his pitch volume, which was the most important thing. His stuff quality continued to improve,” Antonetti said. “Probably the most encouraging thing is he bounced back better and better each time out.”

Antonetti added that Williams will be on a pitch count, “but we think he’s at a point now where he’s able to help us win games at the major league level.”

McKenzie, 26, is 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 16 starts. He has allowed the most home runs (19) and walks (49) in the major leagues this season.

McCaughan, 28, is 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA in six innings over two games for Cleveland, after posting a 15.43 ERA in 4 2/3 innings in one appearance for the Miami Marlins this season.

–Field Level Media