The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired Garrett Cleavinger last December as part of a three-way trade with the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.
In his first season in L.A., Cleavinger has had an up and down experience as he adjusts to life in a new city and team. “There’s always an adjustment period with a new season, and especially with a new team,” Cleavinger said.
“Me being kind of a younger player in the big leagues was something I had to get used to. Those last few outings I started to get comfortable and was able to do some things that I normally do.”
After he was starting to settle in at the big league level, Cleavinger was placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation.
“It was something that I was kind of hoping to grind through and it would just go away,” Cleavinger explained. “But it turns out we needed a little treatment and a little rest. I’m good to go now. I feel great.”
He threw only 0.2 innings in a professional game last year as the Minor League season was canceled due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Cleavinger believes that might have contributed to his forearm injury.
“Not having that normal season, that normal wear and tear you kind of get used to from the previous year, I think could’ve contributed to some of my symptoms,” he said.
“I think you’re seeing a lot of it throughout the league. A lot of injuries are up and all that kind of stuff. With guys not having a normal season for almost two years, it’s kind of tough to get the body used to it again, the stamina and arm flexibility built up.
“I think as we kind of get over this hump and get some games behind us, guys’ bodies are starting to catch up and hopefully we can all get healthy and hit our stride.”
As he now is back with the team, Cleavinger is hoping to pick up where he left off. Before the injury, Cleavinger was starting to pitch in more high-leverage situations.
“I think those are very valuable learning experiences. They didn’t bounce my way, and that hit me kind of hard at the time,” he said. “But looking back at it, I think it’s a good learning experience. To be thrown in those tough situations early helps prepare you for what’s ahead.”
This season, Cleavinger has thrown 8.1 innings and allowed six runs (three earned) while striking out 12 but walking five.
Alexander progressing toward return
While Cleavinger is back from the IL, the Dodgers have been without Scott Alexander since May 3. Alexander said his injury took a few days longer than expected to heal and was shut down from throwing for two weeks.
“But because of that non-throwing, I had to go through essentially a Spring Training buildup, and that’s basically what’s taken so long,” he explained.
Alexander threw one inning for Low-A Rancho Cucamonga in the first game of his rehab assignment.
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