Mike Clevinger, Carlos Carrasco, and Oscar Mercado won’t have to race the clock to be ready by the originally scheduled Opening Day.
Spring training is over, and the regular season won’t begin on time. While this is depressing from a sheer baseball standpoint, there are players around the league who are going to benefit from a slowdown in activity over the next few weeks. The two most prominent such players on the Cleveland Indians‘ roster are pitchers Mike Clevinger and Carlos Carrasco, neither of whom was tracking toward being ready for Opening Day.
Clevinger continues to progress from knee surgery, while Carrasco was recently shut down due to elbow inflammation.
The Indians were unlikely to rush Clevinger or Carrasco back regardless of how thin the starting rotation becomes with even one of them on the shelf. As difficult as it might be to get through a couple weeks with an undermanned staff, a far worse fate would be for Clevinger or Carrasco to suffer a longer-term injury due to a preemptive return.
With MLB delaying the start of the regular season by at least two weeks from its originally scheduled Opening Day, the Indians can afford even more so to take their time on this front. Maybe Clevinger and Carrasco still miss the beginning of the season, but it stands to reason they’ll miss less of it.
On the position player side, Oscar Mercado also has more time to recover from a sprained wrist. Mercado has been considered day-to-day since injuring his glove-hand wrist on March 5.
Unlike Clevinger and Carrasco, Mercado was at least preparing as though he’d have been ready for Opening Day. He no longer has to worry about that.
The silver linings to a month without baseball when there is supposed to be baseball are few and far between. But some banged-up players having a chance to work their way through injuries without feeling pressured to expedite the process is not a bad thing.