Clevinger Has Surgery on Right Knee
Bob Toth | On 14, Feb 2020
The full squad had not even reported to camp yet before the Cleveland Indians suffered a significant spring training injury.
The Indians announced on Friday that starting pitcher Mike Clevinger will miss what is expected to be six to eight weeks of action after suffering a partial tear of the meniscus in his left knee. Clevinger had been seen on crutches at the team’s complex after suffering the injury on Wednesday and he underwent surgery on Friday morning in Arizona to correct the damage done.
The news certainly overshadowed the club’s other announcement on Friday, when the team confirmed that free agent outfielder Domingo Santana had agreed to a one-year contract with a team option for 2021 and that utility man Andrew Velazquez had been designated for assignment to make room for him on the roster.
Clevinger was one of the better pitchers in the American League in 2019 and the Indians have banked plenty on his rising star status after trading former front-of-the-rotation pitchers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber over the course of the last six-plus months. He was projected to be the Indians’ number one starter, to be followed by Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and two others from a field including Zach Plesac, Aaron Civale, Adam Plutko, and others.
The Indians may need to rely upon that depth to get them through the early weeks of the 2020 slate.
The 29-year-old Clevinger made 21 starts in an injury-shortened 2019 season, going 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP with 169 strikeouts in just 126 innings of work. An early season teres major muscle back strain cost him more than two months, and a right ankle sprain landed him on the injured list for the second time in his first start off of the list in mid-June.
Clevinger had blossomed in recent years and had become one of the up-and-coming stars and a recognizable figure from the mound. With a distinct and somewhat violent pitching style and long hair flowing from underneath his “Block C” ball cap, Clevinger has shown steadily improving results over the last few years while working regularly as part of the Indians rotation. He made ten starts and seven relief appearances in his rookie season in 2016 and followed it up with a 12-6 record with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP in 27 games (21 starts) in 2017. He hit the 200-inning and 200-strikeout marks for the first time in his career in 2018, when he posted a 13-8 record in 32 games with a 3.02 ERA, a 1.16 WHIP, and one complete game shutout as he made his mark on the MLB landscape.
In his four big league seasons, Clevinger owns a career record of 41-21 in 97 games (84 starts) with a 3.20 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
Clevinger agreed to a $4.1 million contract in the offseason, avoiding arbitration with the Indians in his first year of eligibility.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images