Tribe Injuries – Clevinger may need surgery, Lindor making progress

The Indians' are dealing with their fair share of injury issues

James Rapien
April 11, 2019 - 1:58 pm
CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 07: Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Progressive Field on April 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – The Indians won't be at full strength anytime soon. Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger may need surgery after leaving Sunday's game against Toronto with back tightness. 

"We're still working through the options with Clev – whether we go the surgical route or the conservative route," President Chris Antonetti said. "There's nothing really imminent time wise just because of the nature of the injury. If we were going to go conservative treatment, he'd be doing exactly what he's doing now and if there were surgery, we'd need to allow a little bit of time to pass from the injury before they did their surgery."

Clevinger's timetable is expected to remain the same regardless of whether he has surgery or not. The 28-year-old was placed on the injured list on April 8, but is expected to be out for months after suffering a back strain, along with a Teres major muscle strain. Manager Terry Francona said it'll be 6-to-8 weeks before Clevinger picks up a baseball. It would be surprising to see him return before the All-Star break. 

Jefry Rodriguez will start in Clevinger's place Saturday against the Royals. The 25-year-old was acquired in the Yan Gomes trade. He's only expected to make one start.

Adam Plutko would likely be getting the nod, but he's dealing with a forearm injury and is still a few weeks away from returning.

Frankie Update – The Indians haven't revealed a target date for Francisco Lindor's return, but he continues to make progress. He was fielding ground balls at Progressive Field last weekend and is ready to move laterally on the ankle. 

"He's at the point of being able to do everything baseball wise," Antonetti said. "From taking ground balls to taking batting practice, it's just a question of those more aggressive movements and turns and that's the next step in his progression."

The Indians aren't sure when he'll be able to make a minor-league start, but they do want him to be completely comfortable planting, turning and cutting on the ankle. Lindor missed all of spring training with a calf strain. It could take him some time to get ready in the minors once he's ready to go. The Indians want him to get plenty of healthy in-game reps before he joins the team. They've been determined to bring him back at full strength, even if it means taking it slow. 

Help on the Way – Jason Kipnis will start for the Columbus Clippers on Thursday and is expected to join the Indians on their current road trip if everything goes as planned. The 31-year-old is 2-for-12 in Triple-A, but will bring experience to the middle of the infield. 

Carlos Gonzalez is another veteran that could be joining the Indians in the near future. The three-time All-Star is hitting .333 with a .500 on-base percentage for the Clippers. He hasn't hit a home run yet, but is getting himself into shape after signing with the Indians in March. Gonzalez can opt-out on April 20 if he isn't promoted.