As unfortunate as injuries are in sports, they do have a silver lining. They provide opportunities to players who otherwise wouldn’t get a chance to show what they can do. That’s exactly the scenario that Steve Clevenger finds himself in right now with the Baltimore Orioles.
Clevenger will be taking over every day catching duties for the time being due to Matt Wieters’ right elbow strain which will require at least a 15-day DL stint. If, by June 1, Wieters still isn’t able to catch, then he would likely undergo surgery which has about a nine-month recovering period.
Clevenger is a local kid who graduated Mount St. Joseph’s High School in Baltimore, Md., and since coming back to Baltimore after beginning his career with the Chicago Cubs, has hit his way into the backup catcher role. But now, with Wieters out, Clevenger has a golden opportunity to prove he deserves to be a starting catcher in MLB.
So far in 2014, Clevenger has made the most of his playing- time. A red-hot Spring Training raised expectations for Clevenger and while he isn’t hitting as well as he was this spring, he’s proven that he’s more than capable to fill in for Wieters.
In 13 games, Clevenger has hit .256/.326/.462 with no home runs and five RBIs. Those stats aren’t eye-popping, but when you consider the fact that Clevenger’s hits have come at big times in games and that he hasn’t been able to develop a routine, the Orioles will be fine without Matt Wieters.
Defensively, Clevenger hasn’t been nearly as good as the two-time Gold Glove award winner Matt Wieters, which is especially apparent in his arm strength, but he certainly isn’t a liability. Clevenger is yet to commit an error behind the plate and doesn’t look overwhelmed.
With Wieters on the 15-day DL, Steve Clevenger has the chance to prove to teams around the league that he’s more than just a backup catcher. Whether he can take advantage of this opportunity is yet to be seen.