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Clevinger back to IL with left ankle sprain

Injury updates on Zimmer, Salazar, Otero and Kluber
@MandyBell02
June 21, 2019

CLEVELAND – And just like that, Indians starter Mike Clevinger finds himself back on the injured list. After missing two months with an upper back strain, the Indians announced on Friday before their 7-6 win over the Tigers that Clevinger was placed on the 10-day IL with a left ankle

CLEVELAND – And just like that, Indians starter Mike Clevinger finds himself back on the injured list.

After missing two months with an upper back strain, the Indians announced on Friday before their 7-6 win over the Tigers that Clevinger was placed on the 10-day IL with a left ankle sprain. In a corresponding move, Josh Smith was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.

Just two innings into his first start back from the 60-day IL on Monday in Texas, Clevinger dropped to the ground after rolling his left ankle as he broke toward first base from the mound. The Indians training staff ran out to check on him, as he was slow to get back up on his feet. However, he remained in the game for two-plus innings, throwing a total of 91 pitches.

According to Indians manager Terry Francona, the day following Clevinger’s outing was encouraging, but as more time went by, it became clear it wouldn’t be smart to push him to make Saturday’s start against the Tigers in Cleveland, especially with an off-day on the following Thursday that would allow Clevinger to miss just one turn in the rotation.

“Once we told Clev that we have the day off on Thursday, and he really only misses one start, he was like, ‘I get it.’ So, it makes sense,” Francona said. “If he would go out there and hurt his arm because he was favoring his ankle or something, that would be terrible.”

With Clevinger out, the Tribe will see its fifth player this season make his Major League debut, as 24-year-old Aaron Civale, the Indians’ No. 24 prospect, gets the call on Saturday to make his first big league start. The right-hander was promoted from Double-A Akron to Columbus on June 6.

“I know that we’re meeting new kids pretty rapidly,” Francona said. “The good part is watching them come in and they all seem to be polite, they’re good kids. They come with good reputations. Strike thrower. Breaking ball heavy. Doesn’t have a lot of Triple-A experience, like [Zach] Plesac. Doesn’t mean he can’t help us win.”

In Akron, he pitched to a 2.67 ERA in five starts with 24 strikeouts and six walks in 30 1/3 innings. He’s allowed five runs (four earned) in 10 2/3 frames in Columbus (3.38 ERA), fanning 16 batters with four walks. Civale joins Shane Bieber and Plesac as the Indians’ third 2016 MLB Draft pick to make it to the big leagues. Civale was selected in the third round, Bieber followed in the fourth and Plesac was taken in the 12th round.

“If you’re somebody that’s in Double-A pitching or whatever, [you're] thinking ‘Jeez, I just roomed with this kid two weeks ago,’” Francona said. “I think that’s always an extremely good lure, or whatever word you want to use.”

Injury updates

Bradley Zimmer: After having a bit of a setback with his shoulder just before being sent to Columbus for a rehab assignment, Zimmer is back to hitting live pitching in Goodyear, Ariz., but will still need a few more days before he begins throwing.

Danny Salazar: With his second two-inning simulated game under his belt, Salazar is waiting to advance to a real game in Arizona before he gets a rehab assignment. The Indians are still debating whether he will come out of the gate as a starter or reliever. “My guess is we probably keep him on a five-day [rotation]. Maybe keep it shorter,” Francona said. “Especially early. Those are things we’re still talking about.”

Dan Otero: Otero was placed on the 10-day IL with right shoulder inflammation on June 2. Before the team left Texas, he had a setback while throwing. The Indians are sending him to get examined on Friday to find out more information.

Corey Kluber: Kluber is continuing to do lower-body exercises as he awaits his eight-week checkup next week. That appointment will determine whether he can begin throwing.

This date in Indians history

1990: Tom Brookens hit a walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning to lift the Indians to a 4-3 win over Baltimore.

Mandy Bell covers the Indians for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MandyBell02.