When the Indians traded former ace Corey Kluber this past winter a lot of people raised their eyebrows. In response, a other people said that, actually, Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber lead the pitching staff now, and Kluber was expendable.
Guess Bieber is going to have a bit more weight on his shoulders in the early going this year, because the Indians announced this morning that Clevinger is out with knee surgery. He’ll have an operation today to repair a partial tear in the meniscus of his left knee.
The club has not yet put a timetable on his return, but it’s worth noting that Phillies starter Jake Arrieta had meniscus surgery in late January/early February and was ready to go the first week of the season. If Clevinger follows that path, he shouldn’t miss too much time. Craig Kimbrel missed seven weeks after meniscus surgery in 2016. All of which is to say, it’s not super clear how bad this is.
Clevinger was limited to 21 starts and 126 innings of work last season due to back and ankle problems, but he registered a 2.71 ERA and 12.1 K/9 when healthy, making him an ace. An ace the Indians really need to get back soon if they intend to compete with the Twins and White Sox in the AL Central this season.
The Associated press has learned that umpire Kerwin Danley will soon be named the first African-American crew chief in baseball history. MLB will likely make the announcement official some time this week.
Danley, 58, called his first game in the majors in 1992 as a minor league fill-in and was hired as a full time big league up in 1998. He has worked two World Series and has worked ten other postseason rounds. He has also called two All-Star Games.
It’s quite a thing that it has taken until 2020 for there to be a black crew chief. Baseball, however, has historically lagged in hiring and promoting black umpires. The first black big league umpire — Emmett Ashford — did not make his debut until 1966, nearly two decades after Jackie Robinson broke the color line for players. In all, the Associated Press notes, there have been only ten black umpires in the game’s history.
As for Danley himself, in the nearly 11-year history of this website, we have only written one post about any bad calls he has made, and that was a very minor and ultimately meaningless bad call in a Rays-Orioles game in 2010. If you’re an umpire and you’re not making the news, you’re doing a good job.
Congratulations on the promotion, Kerwin Danley. Per what I said in the last paragraph, here’s hoping that we only mention your name when you are given postseason assignments in the coming years.