sports 5 days ago

Indians' Mike Clevinger kicks up velocity on rehab, rejoins team

Akron Beacon Journal — By Ryan Lewis Akron Beacon Journal

June 12-- CLEVELAND-Based on the normal rehab schedule for the type of injury he suffered, Mike Clevinger should just now be picking up a baseball again.

He'll do that and much more on Monday.

Clevinger, coming off his second rehab outing on Tuesday night with the RubberDucks, will rejoin the Indians rotation to start Monday's game against the Texas Rangers, according to manager Terry Francona.

Clevinger was placed on the 60-day injured list on April 9 with an upper back strain. The normal timetable for that kind of rehab for a pitcher consists of no throwing for six-to-eight weeks. Considering that, it was likely that Clevinger was out until at least July, if not later.

Instead, he flew past those dates and has built up his volume to the point of being able to start, likely at least a month ahead of schedule.

"Every single injury to date in baseball, they didn't pick up a ball for six-to-eight weeks," Clevinger said Wednesday. "I got lucky, I guess you could say. It's hard to say after an injury you got lucky, but that was kind of the case here."

"Yeah ... however (the muscle) came off the bone or separated from the bone, it wasn't very far, so it thickened up quick," Francona said. "If it completely comes off (the bone) ... so he was fortunate there."

Clevinger spent most of his rehab pestering the Indians' training staff, consistently asking when he could start throwing. They had to try to reel him in to not risk further injury, but Clevinger eventually made quick progress.

"I mean, I was trying to come back and throw the next day," Clevinger said. "I asked them every day even though I knew the timeline. I was like, 'I feel good, can I throw today?' I asked them every day to the point they that they were just getting pissed off at me for asking. I'd ask, 'Can I throw today? It feels fine. It feels good. I could pitch today if you needed me,' and I'd keep saying it.

"I just saw the timeline and I was like, if anything, I want to be back before the All-Star break. I always had that in my mind, that I wanted to be back before then."

Clevinger's return will be a major boost to a rotation that's had a significant amount of turmoil this season. Corey Kluber will be re-evaluated on Thursday and the team should have an update then or on Friday on his status. Carlos Carrasco is on the medical injured list as he seeks treatment options for a blood condition. And Jefry Rodriguez also recently hit the injured list.

All of it has pushed Zach Plesac and Adam Plutko into bigger roles than expected.

"Will he be able to command all his pitches the way he did with six weeks in spring training with a couple starts? I don't know," Francona said of Clevinger. "You hope. But we'll keep an eye on him and try to build him up in a way that he can stay healthy and be healthy and productive, but (it) sure is exciting to see what he's doing."


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