It’s been a long time coming for San Diego Padres starter Mike Clevinger.
On Wednesday afternoon, in game one of a doubleheader against the Cleveland Guardians, Clevinger made his return after having missed almost two full seasons as a result of Tommy John surgery.
He didn’t have his best start, going 4.2 innings and allowing three runs, but he clearly was happy to be back.
His signature rocking motion before throwing a pitch was put on full display once again.
And during his postgame interview, Clevinger shed some tears when talking about pitching for the first time since 2020.
Yesterday, Mike Clevinger made his emotional return to the mound after a 2-year absence from Tommy John surgery. pic.twitter.com/qXIsfSIhJx
— MLB (@MLB) May 5, 2022
Back In Cleveland
It’s good to see Clevinger back.
When healthy, he can be one of the best pitchers in all of baseball.
You can tell he missed pitching and is very happy to be back.
But what made it even more special for him was probably the fact that he got to make his return in a ballpark he used to call home.
Clevinger for the longest time was a key member of the Guardians, then-Indians, starting staff.
It was probably nice for him to return and also have sort of a homecoming feeling to it.
Clevinger was acquired by the Padres at the trade deadline in 2020 in exchange for, among others, catcher Austin Hedges and pitcher Cal Quantrill.
He now shares a rotation with Yu Darvish, Blake Snell, Sean Manaea, and Joe Musgrove, forming one of the strongest rotations in all of baseball.
We’ll see if Clevinger can regain his form and become an ace again.
If he can, the Padres will be a major threat down the road in 2022.