Chicago Cubs: Steve Clevernger

Clevenger heads for DL with oblique strain

April, 14, 2013
4/14/13
12:25
PM CT
By Sahadev Sharma
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs catcher-infielder Steve Clevenger was placed on the 60-day DL Sunday after an MRI revealed a left oblique strain. Clevenger fell and remained on the ground for several moments after striking out to end Saturday's 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants.

"As soon as I swung, I just felt like somebody stuck a knife in my side," Clevenger said. "The reason I wasn't moving is because I couldn't breathe too good, so I just kinda stayed down just trying to catch my breath as quick as possible."

Placing Clevenger on the 60-day DL opened a spot on the Cubs 40-man roster. To fill that void, the Cubs claimed pitcher Kameron Loe off waivers from the Seattle Mariners. Loe made four relief appearances with the Mariners this season, pitching 6 2/3 innings, with a 10.80 ERA, three strikeouts and one walk. In nine seasons, In nine seasons, Loe has amassed a 4.44 ERA and four saves in 306 career big league appearances, all but 47 in relief, with the Rangers, Brewers and Mariners.

Clevenger was one of the last players to make the club out of spring training. Manager Dale Sveum was quick to point out how hard Clevenger had worked and how he came into camp in great shape.

"I worked my butt off this offseason to get stronger and in better shape and then this happens," Clevenger said. "It's definitely frustrating, at the same time I'm not going to let it get to me. I'm determined to get my work in and get back as soon as possible."

Clevenger missed five weeks last season with a right oblique injury. Clevenger blamed neither his previous injury nor the cold weather for this latest setback, calling it a ‘freak' injury. Rest, rehab and getting treatment are what Clevenger has to look forward to over the next month-plus as he works his way back to health.

"(Oblique injuries) are just a big pain," Sveum said. "I don't think I've ever seen one that's been less than three weeks."

Clevenger gave Sveum the luxury of having three catchers, which allowed him to pinch hit back-up catcher Dioner Navarro. Navarro already has two pinch hit home runs on the season. Most managers try not to use their back-up catcher in such roles in the fear that they'll be left without anyone behind the plate in the case of an injury to the starter. However, Clevenger's presence alleviated those fears for Sveum.

"You could see you that bench was able to work correctly with three catchers," Sveum said. "Kind of makes it easier for a manager to mix and match at the end of games. So, yeah, it's very unfortunate."

I wouldn't say you're without it, you probably have to be a little choosier. Sometimes you just have to (do it). If it's going to win you a game in the seventh inning, you just have to say, ‘Hey Castillo, don't get hurt.'"

The Cubs will play Sunday's finale against the Giants with 24 men on the roster. After an off day on Monday, second baseman Darwin Barney will be called up on Tuesday to take Clevenger's roster spot. Barney is on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa. He has been on the DL since Opening Day with a left knee laceration.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Anthony Rizzo
BA HR RBI R
.284 25 59 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 59
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .908
WJ. Hammel 8
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOE. Jackson 108