Cleveland Indians: How serious is Mike Clevinger injury?

Cleveland Indians Mike Clevinger (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Indians Mike Clevinger (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Cleveland Indians suffered a huge setback with the news pitcher Mike Clevinger suffered a knee injury and will require surgery at Spring Training.

Spring Training started off with a real kick in the pants after the news of Mike Clevinger needing surgery to repair a damaged meniscus broke.

You never can have enough starting pitching, and the Indians are being reminded of that before the team’s full squad reports for duty.

Clevinger showed flashes of an ace a season ago, and with the Tribe’s trade of Corey Kluber, he looked the prime candidate to front the Indians rotation heading into 2020.

Now, he’ll be lost for the beginning of the season, and maybe longer.

When Craig Kimbrell injured his medial meniscus on July 8, he didn’t return until Aug. 1, so it’s probably fair to estimate Clevinger will be out six-to-eight weeks. The front office tends to take their time and are very secretive bout a player’s rehab. With this in mind, look for Clevinger to probably be on the backend of that recovery time, with his rehab appearances beginning in mid-April.

Fortunately, the Indians have depth to cover up Clevinger’s absence, although nobody will replace him in talent. Adam Plutko looked like a prime candidate to make the rotation as the fifth starter because the 28-year-old is out of minor league options.

It seems like a slam dunk that Plutko makes the staff now, behind Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco and Zach Plesac. Aaron Civale probably slides into the fifth starter’s spot, while Logan Allen and Scott Moss are a phone call away at Class AAA Columbus.

Even though the Indians can cover up this blemish, it’s still enough to make even the most optimistic Tribe fan feel salty. Considering the Indians didn’t do much in terms of adding in free agency while the White Sox and Twins boosted their lineups, it’s widely perceived the Indians need to be clicking on all cylinders for the majority of 2020.

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In truth, the news could be worse. Remember losing Frankie Lindor a season ago? The Indians couldn’t replace him in the lineup. They’re not exactly replacing Clevinger, but the talent in the organization is good enough to help the Tribe win some games in the early going.