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Clevinger to be out long term with strained back

April 9, 2019

DETROIT -- When Mike Clevinger was pulled early from his start on Sunday, there was hope it was merely a move of precaution. It’s now clear that wasn’t the case. The Indians right-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday with a right upper back/Teres major muscle strain.

DETROIT -- When Mike Clevinger was pulled early from his start on Sunday, there was hope it was merely a move of precaution. It’s now clear that wasn’t the case.

The Indians right-hander was placed on the 10-day injured list on Tuesday with a right upper back/Teres major muscle strain. Clevinger dominated in his first two starts this year, allowing no runs on just two hits and four walks while striking out 22 over 12 innings.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona described the injury as “fairly significant,” adding that it’ll likely be six to eight weeks “before we’re even looking at [Clevinger] picking up a ball.”

The news is devastating for a team that is still without fellow starter Danny Salazar. The Indians will need someone to fill Clevinger’s rotation spot on Saturday, but Francona said that is still to be determined. Adam Plutko would typically be a spot-start candidate, but he landed on the injured list last Wednesday with a right forearm strain.

Other options at Triple-A Columbus include Asher Wojciechowski, Jefry Rodriguez, Cody Anderson and Chih-Wei Hu. Of that group, Wojciechowski and Rodriguez might match up the best. They both pitched into the sixth inning of their first starts of the season.

“We’ll figure it out,” Francona said. “I always feel like we will. … My heart kind of goes out to Clev, because everyone that’s been around here has seen how hard he’s worked to get where he’s gotten.”

Right-handed reliever Nick Wittgren was recalled from Columbus in a corresponding move. He was acquired in a trade from the Marlins in early February, having pitched with the Marlins each of the previous three seasons. Wittgren had a 2.94 ERA in 32 relief appearances in 2018.

Updates on Lindor, Kipnis
Francisco Lindor took another step forward in his recovery on Tuesday in Detroit. According to Francona, he did some agility work, hit in the batting cage and fielded ground balls. That’s a good thing, as is Lindor’s presence in the clubhouse.

“Whether it’s that smile or something sarcastic he says, it is a lift to have him around,” Francona said.

Jason Kipnis will play eight or nine innings on Tuesday night for Columbus as he continues rehabbing his strained right calf. He hit a double in Monday’s game and now has two hits and one walk in 10 plate appearances on the rehab stint.

This date in Indians history
Trevor Bauer (six innings, 11 strikeouts) headlined a group of four Cleveland pitchers who combined to throw a one-hitter against Houston on this date in 2015. The no-no was broken up with one out in the ninth, when Jed Lowrie homered off Nick Hagadone.