Mike Clevinger will be on the mound Thursday afternoon in Anaheim, Calif., making his debut for the San Diego Padres versus the team that originally drafted him, the Los Angeles Angels.
Clevinger, who was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Padres in a deadline deal on Monday, will make his second start since he was placed on the restricted list by the Indians for breaking COVID-19 protocols in early August. He missed three weeks, but returned with a solid game Aug. 26, giving up two runs on eight hits and one walk over six innings in a triumph over the Minnesota Twins.
Clevinger, who is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in four starts this campaign, is excited about his chance for a fresh start with a new team.
“(The Padres) are the most exciting team in baseball by far right now,” he said. “It’s definitely the place to be. I’m stoked that they wanted me here. It’s a definitely a destination guys want to be.”
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He could not have picked a better opponent than the Angels to impress his new teammates.
In six career starts against them, he is 4-0 with a 2.94 ERA. He’s even better pitching in Anaheim — 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in two starts (one earned run in 11 1/3 innings).
The Angels drafted Clevinger out of Seminole Community College in Sanford, Fla., in 2011, and he was having a mediocre season playing Class-A ball in 2014 when he was traded to the Indians for middle reliever Vinnie Pestano, who played his last major league game in 2015.
Clevinger, who was 23 at the time, was 4-3 with a 4.31 ERA in 18 combined starts playing for the Burlington (Iowa) Bees and Inland Empire (Calif.) 66ers, while Pestano was a major league reliever the Angels felt they needed to fortify their bullpen for a playoff push.
Now, Clevinger joins a team that hasn’t been to the playoffs in 14 years.
“I know it’s been since 2006, but there’s definitely something brewing here, and it’s going to be special for the coming years, it’s not just this year,” he said.
“I couldn’t be any more excited. This is exactly where I wanted to be. From a distance, this was one of the best organizations around.”
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