Corey Kluber has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. Kluber left Tuesday night’s game with back discomfort after allowing 5 runs on 7 hits in just 3 innings of work against the Detroit Tigers. After being evaluated by team doctors, his discomfort has been diagnosed as a back strain, which will require him to miss at least one start.
Do not be surprised if it’s more than one start for Clevinger though, and that’s only partially due to the possibility of Kluber missing more time. Kluber is expected back from the DL to make a start on May 13th, but manager Terry Francona has stated that he wants him to be 100% healthy before he comes back. So the Indians may extend Kluber’s stay on the DL and give Clevinger another start and basically have him as a fill until Kluber is healthy and ready to return.
The other reason to not be surprised is he may pitch well enough to become a starter in the normal rotation. With the struggles that some Indians' pitchers have had this season, this could be more of an audition rather than just filling a spot until Kluber is ready to go again. The tribe has the expectations of getting to the World Series again this season, but right now the starting pitching is a big concern for them. Carlos Carrasco has been great for them and while Kluber and Salazar haven't had very good starts, their jobs are safe. Which leaves the 4th and 5th starters, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin, who are a huge black and blue bruise for their starting rotation that has many wondering how long either of them can remain as a starter for this team.
A healthy Kluber to go with Carrasco and Salazar with Mike Clevinger pitching better from the 4th starting spot puts the tribe in a much better situation going forward than if Bauer and Tomlin were both in the starting rotation. Still might need to make some tweaks, maybe give Zach McCallister a start or two or move Ryan Merritt up from triple A to give him a chance and don't leave out the potential for a trade, but Clevinger coming in and pitching well is something all fans need to root for and not just so they can get some wins while Corey Kluber is out.
This is a good long term solution here for the Indians, and Mike Clevinger has all the opportunity in the world to come up to Cleveland, lock a job up and not be sent back down this season.