Tribe Notes – Injury updates on Clevinger, Zimmer and Salazar

The Indians are getting healthier

James Rapien
May 16, 2019 - 5:26 pm
May 3, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

© Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Indians have dealt with their fair share of injuries this season, but they got some good news on Thursday.

Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger will throw his second bullpen session tomorrow, as he continues to rehab from a Teres major muscle strain in his back. The Indians initially thought it could be six-to-eight weeks before he picked up a baseball.

Clevinger has progressed much faster than expected. There’s a chance he could return when he’s eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on June 7.

“I was hit with a pretty long timeline and now I know I’m going to be back sooner than that,” Clevinger said. “Whether it’s the work I’m doing or whatever, it’s not really a pinpointed thing. I want to re-look at the statistics, but nine times out of ten you never see this happen again to the guys who’ve got it, so it’s just a stroke of bad luck I guess.”

Clevinger threw 20 fastballs in his first bullpen session. He hasn’t thrown sliders or curve balls off of the mound yet, but there’s a good chance he does that on Friday. Clevinger has thrown breaking balls on flat ground, including a 35-pitch session on Thursday that included curve balls and sliders.

“It’s really hard for him when he gets out of his delivery to only go one speed,” manager Terry Francona said. “The good news is it doesn’t hurt him when he does it, which is great news. He’s got a ways to go now, to get back, but my goodness, if you would’ve told me a month ago, that he’d be where he is now, we’re pretty fortunate.”

Naquin Update – Tyler Naquin was diagnosed with a calf injury and there’s swelling in the back of his knee. He’s expected to miss two weeks before he can get back on the field.

“Whether it’s calf or hamstring, it’s kind of behind his knee, so that’s a little bit ambiguous,” Francona said. “He’s probably two weeks from returning to baseball activity. It’s probably a good thing that we got him looked at. I think he’s a tough kid that was trying to play through something that maybe he shouldn’t of.”

More Injury News – Outfielder Bradley Zimmer will DH this weekend in Arizona. It’s a good sign for Zimmer, who suffered an oblique injury at the end of spring training. He suffered the injury while rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Zimmer is another player who could join the Indians' crowded outfield at some point this season.

Danny Salazar had a setback a few weeks ago, but he’s back to throwing. It’s a step in the right direction for Salazar, who hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues since September 27, 2017.

Other Notes – Adam Plutko will start for the Indians on Saturday against Baltimore. Shane Bieber gets the start on Sunday and Carlos Carrasco will go on Monday.

Plutko allowed one run and two hits in five innings of work in his last start for the Columbus Clippers. He suffered a forearm injury at the end of spring training that sidelined him for over a month.

Plutko made 12 starts for the Indians last season, posting a 5.38 ERA in 80⅓ innings.