10:06am: It turns out the injury is much worse than had initially been expected. Clevinger is going to be sidelined for six to eight weeks before he’s able to resume a throwing progression, manager Terry Francona tells reporters including Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Since he’ll still need to build back to full pitching strength from that point, it seems all but inevitable that Clevinger will miss more than two months.
9:32am: The Indians have placed starter Mike Clevinger on the 10-day injured list. He’s said to be dealing with a “right upper back/Teres major muscle strain.”
Reliever Nick Wittgren is coming up to the active roster to fill the opening and provide some innings, but obviously won’t fill Clevinger’s role. The Cleveland org will ultimately need another hurler to step into the rotation, at least for a couple of starts.
Glancing down the Indians’ 40-man roster, there are several pitchers with MLB experience that could ultimately be called upon. Cody Anderson has spent the most time in the big leagues but is still building back after missing virtually all of the prior two seasons. Adam Plutko might get the nod but is not at 100 percent. Jefry Rodriguez and Chih-Wei Hu have also pitched at the game’s highest level, as have non-roster hurlers A.J. Cole and Asher Wojciechowski.
Filling in shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The real question is: for how long? It did not seem that Clevinger had suffered a significant injury when he left his most recent start, and there’s still no indication that he’s expected to be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. The Indians will take a cautious approach while hoping that Clevinger is able to get back to action quickly. The 28-year-old righty has been nothing short of outstanding of late, with a ridiculous dozen innings (two hits, 22:4 K/BB) to begin the new campaign.