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Clevinger to start Monday's opener vs. Astros

MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Mike Clevinger is slated to start for the Tribe in Monday's series opener against the Astros. However, he isn't expected to get too stretched out.

"We're not going to let him get real deep," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Just because he's been in the bullpen, and I think we all view, at this time of the year, that he has a chance to help us in the bullpen. Clev has started, so I think that that helps it a little bit. We just want to treat it like a relief appearance."

Full Game Coverage

CLEVELAND -- Right-hander Mike Clevinger is slated to start for the Tribe in Monday's series opener against the Astros. However, he isn't expected to get too stretched out.

"We're not going to let him get real deep," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Just because he's been in the bullpen, and I think we all view, at this time of the year, that he has a chance to help us in the bullpen. Clev has started, so I think that that helps it a little bit. We just want to treat it like a relief appearance."

Full Game Coverage

Clevinger (2-1, 5.30 ERA) has made 11 appearances (five starts) in his rookie season, but he hasn't started in the Majors since Aug. 13, when he got the win against the Angels by tossing 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

The 25-year-old right-hander has since been converted to the bullpen. Despite Monday's start, the team envisions Clevinger staying in his relief role for the time being. He could be a viable option out of the bullpen during Cleveland's postseason push and potentially in the playoffs. It's a role that Clevinger enjoys.

"This is fun," Clevinger said. "You get to play for something bigger than yourself and bigger than your career. That can actually take some pressure off me being a rookie, to make an impact your first time up."

In fact, Clevinger will even prepare for Monday's start just the same as he would if he was in the bullpen.

"I'll just take it as a bullpen outing," Clevinger. "I'm not even going to do my long toss. Just get ready and go."

The reason for the bullpen day is due to the team deciding to skip Josh Tomlin's turn in the rotation. Tomlin has been struggling of late, posting an 0-5 record with an 11.48 ERA in six August starts. The righty allowed four or more runs and lasted fewer than five innings in five of his six outings last month.

Tomlin will be available in the bullpen on Monday, but that is likely a temporary move as the Indians hope he can return to the rotation for the rest of September.

"We don't want to run from him," Francona said. "That's not ever the idea. Also want to see how he throws the ball, too, and try to balance what's in his best interest and also our ballclub and try to mesh it together like we always do."

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cleveland Indians, Mike Clevinger