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.