More Bad News: Indians reliever Emmanuel Clase to miss 8-12 weeks with back strain

Mike Clevinger suffered a similar injury last season

James Rapien
February 27, 2020 - 11:49 am
Feb 19, 2020; Goodyear, Arizona, USA; Cleveland Indians pitcher Emmanuel Clase poses for a portrait during media day at the Indians training facility. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND, OH — The Indians' injury riddled spring continued on Thursday after an MRI revealed that reliever Emmanuel Clase has a strained teres major muscle in his upper back. 

The team describes it as a "moderate strain" and Clase is expected to miss 8-to-12 weeks of game activity. He suffered the injury last Wednesday during a bullpen session in Goodyear. 

The Indians acquired the right-hander in December from Texas in the Corey Kluber trade. 

Clase posted a 2.31 ERA in 21 appearances for the Rangers last season. He had 21 strikeouts and allowed just six earned runs in 23⅓ innings. 

The 21-year-old relies on two pitches — a cutter (fastball) and a slider. His fastball routinely hits 99, but has topped out at 102 mph. 

"I never want to throw another one (bullpen) next to him," Nick Wittgren said last week when asked about Clase. "It looked like I was throwing about 65 mph." 

He was expected to be a big part of the Indians' bullpen in 2020. Clase will be re-examined weekly. 

Other Injuries

Mike Clevinger is expected to miss another 5-7 weeks after undergoing a procedure to repair a partially torn meniscus in his left knee.

The Indians’ ace missed nearly three months last season after suffering a “high grade” teres major muscle strain. Although similar, it doesn’t sound like Clase’s injury is as severe, which bodes well for his recovery.

Carlos Carrasco suffered a mild right hip flexor strain last week. He’s officially day-to-day, but the team will take it slow with the veteran right-hander.

Carrasco, who will turn 33 next month, battled chronic myeloid leukemia last season. He’s hoping to return to the starting rotation after making 11 relief appearances last September.

Aaron Civale is dealing with a sore groin. He’s expected to contribute in a big way this season, after making 10 starts last year.

“He’s doing fine,” manager Terry Francona said earlier this week. “He’s just backed up a few days.”

Civale threw a simulated game on Monday. He went 3-4 last season with a 2.34 ERA in 57 ⅔ innings.

Outfielder Daniel Johnson is also less than 100 percent after suffering a sprained ankle before spring training started. Johnson was in Saturday’s lineup against the Reds, but was a late scratch from a game that never began due to rain.

Bradley Zimmer, Greg Allen and Jake Bauers are just a few of the outfielders that are battling Johnson for a roster spot.

The 24-year-old showed his potential last season after the Indians acquired him in the Yan Gomes trade.

Johnson posted a .290/.261/.507 slash line in 123 minor league games. He spent most of his time in Columbus and joined the organizations top prospect — Nolan Jones — in the Future’s Game during the All-Star break.

“We're really excited about the development Daniel made last year and are excited to continue to see his growth and development this year,” Antonetti said in January. “We do think he's got a chance to impact his major league team, exactly when that will be is hard to predict, but we're really excited by the progress he made last year and we're looking forward to seeing him again this spring.”

The Indians continue Cactus League play on Thursday against the Dodgers at 3:05 p.m. Cleveland is 2-2 this spring.