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Clevinger closing in on rehab assignment

Kipnis represents Tribe on Hooton Foundation Board
@MandyBell02
May 19, 2019

CLEVELAND -- A rehab assignment may be in Mike Clevinger’s near future. We’re 19 days away from the earliest date that the 28-year-old right-hander can be activated off the injured list -- June 7 -- after straining his upper back in his second start of the year on April 7.

CLEVELAND -- A rehab assignment may be in Mike Clevinger’s near future.

We’re 19 days away from the earliest date that the 28-year-old right-hander can be activated off the injured list -- June 7 -- after straining his upper back in his second start of the year on April 7. After a successful second bullpen session on Friday, Indians manager Terry Francona said on Sunday that Clevinger is getting closer to being sent on a Minor League rehab assignment.

“He threw fastball-changeup, I think it was 35 pitches,” Francona said of Friday’s session. “I was looking at his schedule today. He’s probably got two to three more bullpens, and then we’ll think about getting him out for a game.”

The Indians aren’t concerned about Clevinger needing to ramp up his intensity, given the fact that the hurler has gone full-speed since he was able to first pick up a ball. But in order to rein him in, the coaching staff has limited the number of pitches he can throw in each bullpen to assure he’s not doing too much too quickly. Clevinger will continue to build his pitch count over the next few sessions, which will result in a couple of more down days for him in between each bullpen session.

“It’s funny because the first time he threw, [head athletic trainer] James [Quinlan] almost pulled a hammy trying to rein him in,” Francona said. “I was cracking up. Because Clev only has one speed. But the good news is, if he’s letting it loose like that, I don’t think he’s going to be doing that if he’s feeling it or he’s hurting. The point now is to try and get him reps and let him get his rest in between so he can recover and then build him back up.”

Kipnis proud to represent Taylor Hooton Foundation

For the fourth consecutive season, the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s MLB Advisory Board -- created in 2014 -- consists of at least one player from each Major League team. The foundation was founded in 2004 after 17-year-old Hooton died following his use of anabolic steroids. His friends and family created the organization to help prevent the use of appearance and performance-enhancing substances by the youth of America.

“They came to me years ago, and it was just something that I believed in, something that was real easy to get behind,” Indians representative on the Advisory Board, Jason Kipnis said. “As someone who tries to play the game hard and the right way, it’s not always easy. There’s always that temptation of shortcuts, and I think that really refocuses on promoting doing it the right way, doing it natural, doing it just with hard work and dedication instead of a shortcut. It was very easy for me to stand behind that because I love that message."

Earlier this month, the Taylor Hooton Foundation announced that this year’s MLB Advisory Board is made up of a record-setting 42 members. Each player will participate in the foundation’s 2019 public-service campaign, “All Me,” where a print PSA with a photo of each member will be made available to each player’s respective team for its program or magazine and other platforms. Members also take part in the organization’s educational activities in their local communities. To date, the Taylor Hooton Foundation has spoken to and educated nearly 2 million people.

“I think if they [are opening] it up to more people per team I think they wouldn’t have a hard time finding guys who are more than likely to join in,” Kipnis said. “Like I said, I think it’s a good message. I think it’s guys who have been affected by it, whether you have a teammate who it happens to where you get beat out by someone who happens to, or a contract that some other guys gets that you didn’t because they cheated or something like that. Each guy has a connection to it or a story in some way that I think it’s not that hard to see the positive message that behind it.”

This date in Indians history

1988: With the game tied at 0, Cory Snyder hit a walk-off home run to lift the Tribe to a 1-0 victory over the White Sox.

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