The San Diego Padres are heading back to the postseason but there’s a chance right-hander Mike Clevinger will not be part of the team’s October rotation. Clevinger exited Wednesday’s game (GameTracker) with biceps tightness after a 1-2-3 first inning, and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports the Padres fear they’ve lost him for the rest of the year.
Manager Jayce Tingler told reporters, including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, that Clevinger complained of biceps tightness following the first inning Wednesday. He had been scratched from this past Sunday’s start with the same ailment. Here’s more from Acee:
While there was initial concern within the organization of an elbow injury, two sources said that did not seem to be the fear. A muscle strain or tendonitis are the primary preliminary suspicions, both of which could still sideline Clevinger too long to be available in October.
An MRI has been scheduled.
Acquired from Cleveland in a massive nine-player trade at the deadline, Clevinger missed time with back and ankle injuries last year. He had Tommy John surgery as a minor leaguer in 2012 but otherwise has not had any significant arm problems at the MLB level. It should be noted biceps injuries can linger. They not usually a day-to-day issue.
The Padres have not yet announced their postseason pitching plans but, even without Clevinger, they own a formidable 1-2 punch in Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack. Zach Davies has had an excellent season and is a solid option for a potential Game 3 in the Wild Card Series. Veteran Garrett Richards is another possibility, though he recently moved to the bullpen.
Clearly though, the Padres would be much more formidable with a healthy Clevinger joining Lamet and Paddack. That’s three bat-missing righties capable of going toe-to-toe with just about any other rotation. San Diego has four regular season games remaining and, even if the MRI comes back clean, there probably isn’t enough time to get Clevinger into another game.
Clevinger, 29, went into Wednesday’s start with a 3.00 ERA in three starts with San Diego. He has a 3.10 ERA in seven starts overall this season. Last year he threw 126 innings with a 2.71 ERA and 169 strikeouts. Clevinger is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player though 2022.