Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger was removed from the team's National League Division Series roster on Wednesday as he continues to deal with the effects of a right elbow impingement.
Clevinger will be unavailable for the remainder of the Padres’ NLDS against the Dodgers -- and the NL Championship Series, if San Diego were to advance that far. Right-hander Dan Altavilla was added to the Padres' roster in Clevinger's place.
"Obviously, you have to weigh a lot of things into this decision," Padres manager Jayce Tingler said moments before the team confirmed the move. "Certainly, his career, his arm, all those things, they're number one on top of that."
It's another blow to an ailing San Diego pitching staff that is also without Dinelson Lamet, who is trying to work his way back from right biceps tightness.
After arriving at the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline, Clevinger made four starts with the Padres, posting a 2.84 ERA. But he exited his final outing of the regular season on Sept. 23 following just one inning, and he left the Game 1 loss on Tuesday night after one inning and two additional pitches.
"It’s been a lot," an emotional Clevinger said Tuesday. "This is what you play for. This is why you go through the process. … So, it's been a lot."
Clevinger threw 22 pitches in the first inning and looked relatively sharp. But after a long top half of the second, his elbow never quite loosened up again. Clevinger threw a 91 mph fastball and a 77 mph slider, both well below his career average.
Clevinger said the injury feels "like my bones are hitting in the back of my elbow." Team doctors assured the Padres that Clevinger could do no further damage to his elbow by continuing to pitch. But with an inflamed elbow, he will likely need some time on the shelf and won't be available in the foreseeable future.
Wednesday's move means Clevinger would be eligible to return if the Padres reach the World Series, but he'd presumably need to clear a number of hurdles before doing so.
Not to mention -- the Padres task of reaching their first World Series in 22 years just got significantly harder without one of their best starting pitchers. They’ve yet to name any starters for Games 3-5 against Los Angeles.
Aces in waiting?
In dire need of pitching, San Diego’s deep farm system is paying huge dividends.
That trio has combined to pitch scoreless ball across 6 1/3 innings in the postseason.
"They feel comfortable here, they've blended in really well here," said Tingler. "They've performed well so far, and they're gaining experience, gaining knowledge, gaining a taste of this."
Weathers learned he'd be on the NLDS roster during COVID screening before the series. He and Padres general manager A.J. Preller were going through routine tests at the team hotel when Preller informed him of the news.
The Padres’ No. 6 prospect, Weathers had never pitched above Class A. But he worked 1 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings in Game 1, whiffing Cody Bellinger for his first career strikeout.
"I felt like I belonged out there," Weathers said. "I knew that I'd earned that moment."
He probably earned himself another moment, too. Weathers, Morejon and Patiño are among the Padres' options to start later in the series.
Machado embraces SD
After the Padres came from behind to beat the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series, Manny Machado posted a group picture of the team around the Petco Park mound on his Instagram account.
"San Diego you have changed my life!!!!!!!" Machado wrote.
On Wednesday, he was asked to expand on that.
"This city's meant a lot, and we see how happy the city is," Machado said. "Coming over here and seeing what this organization has done and where we've come from -- just as happy as me and my family are in San Diego, to be a part of this journey and be a part of this team and this organization -- it's been a true blessing."