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Steve Clevenger, the Cubs’ back-up catcher and (limited duty) leading hitter, went to the DL yesterday with a strain in his side. It stinks, but, hey, it’ll get Welington Castillo some starts in the bigs, and Steve will be back in a couple weeks, right? No biggy, right?

Er, well. Maybe not. Both Clevenger and manager Dale Sveum say it could be a while before Clevenger is back.

“I’ve heard a lot of bad things about the oblique area,” Clevenger said, according to ESPN. “I will do what I have to do and listen to [medical staff]. That’s what they’re here to do is to get me back on the field.”

Sveum added to the concerns.

“The concerning point is I’ve had run-ins with these kinds of things, when guys have trouble talking, and coughing and stuff,” Sveum said, according to the Tribune. “It’s definitely more than a couple or three weeks. [Recovering] is usually a long process. That’s the unfortunate part about it. I think he got it really good.”

So, we could be looking at June or later before Clevenger returns. An oblique strain is a slight tear in the muscle in the side – think that doesn’t impact everything a baseball player does? And there’s only so much you can do to rehab it. The tear simply has to heal.

The Cubs aren’t hugely worse for the wear, as I’m sure they’re interested in seeing Castillo get a number of starts in the bigs. But, with Geovany Soto also having some issues (upper back soreness/tightness), they’re running a bit thin at catcher. And I also suspect the Cubs were really hoping to get a sense of what kind of starting catcher Clevenger could be (as well as Castillo), so they could make a long-term decision on Soto. This could put a minor crimp in those plans, though I suspect that if the right deal comes along, the Cubs will deal Soto and sort out the consequences later.

  • hcs

    That’s quite unfortunate. Here’s hoping he had a quick and full recovery. At least if he’s going to go down for a while it’s happening in the lost season.

  • czechxican

    Is it crazy to consider moving Clev to another fielding position, if he continues he hitting prowess? If he’s a true hitter, (and catching proves to be too much wear and tear on him) I think it’s something to consider. Look at the decline of Soto. Terrific batter when he came up to the bigs, but I believe the position is hurting his skills

    • Dougy D

      I think you may be giving Soto too much credit. He had a good rookie season, and ever since then everyone gives him way too much credit. He is not that good of a catcher, although it seems as if he is improving. He is certainly not that good of a hitter. He has way too many holes in his swing (Soriano-esque). I would be pleased if he moved on to another team. I was kind of hoping that it would be Clevenger and Castillo sharing time to start the season with Soto gone prior to the start of it. I guess the up and ups were to scared to try it.

      • Drew

        I think you’re being a little too hard on Soto. He has done more than just his rookie season.This is a guy with a career OPS of almost .800 and an OPS+ of 107 who is average behind the plate. I wouldn’t be suprised if we didnt see one season of average Soto production from Clevenger or Castillo.

        • Dougy D

          They would both be much cheaper though. Plus, we may be able to get a mid-range prospect for Soto if he starts hitting. If Soto were a good catcher, I can see those stats being more meaningful, but I don’t see him as a worthwhile piece of the team. And yes, I am sure I am being hard on him. Maybe I am just letting my frustration over the Browns draft get to me.

  • Garrett

    Had this exact same injury in college, and the pain is excruciating and everything you do physically effects the area. Since it was my senior year of college I had a cortisone shot and ended up being alright in about a week, but could only imagine how long the injury will take to heal if he does it naturally.

  • MichiganGoat

    See we should have kept hill

  • CubFan Paul

    Two words: sports hernia

  • BleacherBum

    Sucks for Clevenger. Hopefully when he comes back the Cubs get rid of Soto and keep a platoon of Castillo and Clev.

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Cubs’ depth at this position is remarkable. Not many teams have this many sensible moving pieces. Injuries happen.

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