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.