White Sox’ Mike Clevinger eyes return to his ‘old self’ in 2023
White Sox' Clevinger eyes return to his ‘old self’ in 2023 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
New White Sox starter Mike Clevinger is eyeing a return to form next season with a clean bill of health.
Last season marked Clevinger’s return to the mound after missing 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Although he said his elbow held up coming off his recovery, he dealt with a knee issue throughout the season.
“That was kind of the hardest pill to swallow,” said Clevinger, whose one-year deal with the White Sox was announced Sunday. “The arm held up great. The arm held up great the whole year. The arm actually held up better than the rest of the body for a minute.
“I think it was readjusting to that part and kind of battling through some things in my lower half. That’s the big goal right now. I want to go post to post and give this team a chance to win every five days. I don't see that being an issue again.
“I'm excited to get back to being my old self.”
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Clevinger spent the first month last season on the injured list with a right knee sprain, posting a 3.50 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in the first half.
He made 13 second half starts (4.90 ERA), and the knee was an issue down the stretch to the point where he said it was hard to walk the day after he pitched.
Clevinger said he did not require surgery and received a PRP shot after the season for his right MCL. He has already noticed the difference and has started playing catch.
“Now I feel like a normal person again,” said Clevinger, who’s been training in Florida. “It’s been good to get back in the gym doing normal stuff, sprinting, doing my normal work, and not just trying to play catch up like I felt like I was for a while.”
While Clevinger’s average four-seam fastball velocity was down from 95.1 in 2020 to 93.6 in 2022, he doesn’t expect that to be an issue next season.
The White Sox are counting on him to bounce back as he joins a rotation featuring Dylan Cease, Lance Lynn, Michael Kopech and Lucas Giolito. The veteran holds a career 3.39 ERA in six seasons with the Guardians and Padres.
“The velo was there through half the year, and then I was dealing with a lot of different things body-wise, just getting back to trying to make a start every five days,” Clevinger said.
“I think it’s the normal trials and tribulations coming back from a serious injury and especially a second serious injury," Clevinger, who underwent Tommy John as a minor leaguer in 2012, said. "I don’t expect to have those same hiccups next year.
“I don’t think velocity or any of those things of that sort will be an issue."
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