CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - For the first time in his career, Mike Clevinger is dressing in the visitor's clubhouse at Progressive Field.
No, he hasn't been traded. He's just dealing with the distancing necessary during Covid-19.
“I’m in the visitor’s locker room,” Clevinger said during a Zoom meeting on Wednesday. “There’s probably five of us, big barriers in between, huge sneeze guards I guess. You’re wearing a mask unless you’re doing strenuous activities, so it’s strange, strange times right now.
“Besides the group texts, I haven’t even gotten to talk to some of my teammates. It’s extremely, extremely weird. You’re like, in your little pod. The only time I get to see Frankie [Lindor] is when I face him. It’s really strange, but you understand.”
It's going to get stranger.
Especially if and when he faces off against his good friend Trevor Bauer and the Reds.
The Indians play them four times.
"I'm more excited to have an empty stadium, where you can hear everything I'm saying to him," Clevinger joked. "Now we're gonna see who's more mentally tough, so that'll be fun."
Yep, the stands may be silent, but the dugouts during these games?
“I think they’re gonna have to turn the mics off on the field for some of these matchups,” Clevinger said. “You’re talking about people fighting for their [baseball] lives out there, and it’s not always the prettiest, but it’s a lot of fun, I know.”
Clevinger, five months following surgery on the left knee, said he’s ready to go.
At least five innings right now.
But as we all know, many other things aren’t back.
And he misses a lot.
“Freedom, man,” Clevinger said. “Just the freedom to do what you please. I’m a very passionate person, I hug everyone I see. Stopping that is the hard part.”