Padres manager Bob Melvin says Mike Clevinger’s IL stint is more precautionary
Mike Clevinger’s triumphant return from Tommy John surgery was short-lived.
After only three starts, the San Diego Padres have placed him back on the Injured List, this time with a right triceps strain.
Clevinger underwent Tommy John after the 2020 season, and the surgery typically sidelines pitchers for 12-18 months. He missed the entire 2021 campaign and finally made his return against his former team, the Cleveland Guardians, on May 4. Over three starts totaling 14 innings, he allowed six runs (five earned) on 11 hits and struck out 15. He limited his walks to five batters and only gave up one home run.
The 15-day IL stint is retroactive to May 21, and Clevinger last pitched on May 17. He shut out the Philadelphia Phillies for five innings and only faced 17 batters, making it his longest and most effective of his trio of starts. That he’s back on the IL after it felt like he was returning to dominance only makes the situation more frustrating.
But according to Padres manager Bob Melvin, the IL stint is more precautionary:
"“It’s a little spot in his triceps that’s not bad. But we’ve come so far with him and he was so good last time out, we just don’t want any hiccups. … He wants to pitch, but we just don’t want any setbacks with him. It’s too early in the season to try to push him at this point.”"
Clevinger also told reporters that he “fought to remain active,” but after Tommy John, the Padres aren’t going to risk it:
"“We’ve got the luxury of having a bunch of elite starters, so it was like why not take that load off in the beginning? I mean, if it was going to be a bullpen day, I probably would be going out there tomorrow and it’d be fine. But it’s just while we have (the depth) and while I’m coming back from a second TJ, let’s just be smart. It’s not exactly what I wanted to do. But it was a smart decision.”"
The good news for the Padres is that they’re more equipped to handle a pitcher getting sidelined than most teams. Nick Martinez will take his place in the rotation, and reliever Steven Wilson has been recalled to fill his spot on the roster. They have the pitching depth to keep the ship afloat, but hopefully, Clevinger returns soon.