Done for season, Clevenger eyes winter ball

Done for season, Clevenger eyes winter ball

SEATTLE -- Steve Clevenger's goal of returning from a broken hand this season got sidetracked by a flexor strain in his right elbow as he was working back from his original injury, so the Mariners catcher now has reset his goal toward possibly playing winter ball and definitely being 100 percent ready for the start of Spring Training.

Clevenger hit .221 with one home run and seven RBIs in 22 games as Seattle's backup to start the season, but he fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand when he got hit with a foul tip off the bat of the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen on June 29 at Safeco Field.

After a two-month rehab at the team's facility in Peoria, Ariz., and a few games as a designated hitter with Double-A Jackson, the 30-year-old was shut down again when his elbow issue prevented him from being able to throw. He's back with the Mariners, but strictly to rehab with trainer Rick Griffin and his staff for the remainder of the season.

"My first week back throwing, it felt great and everything," Clevenger said. "We were progressing very well, then I just hit a brick wall with my elbow. That's kind of been the thing going on the last 3-4 weeks now. My hand feels good to swing and everything, but the elbow is not cooperating. If I'm not able to play catch or catch, there's no point in being activated."

Clevenger is back with the Mariners, hanging out between fellow catchers Chris Iannetta and Mike Zunino in the clubhouse and enjoying being around the team again. But his focus now is on getting healthy.

"The very last week of the season we're going to try to throw and see how things are then and see if we've made any improvement," he said. "This offseason will be huge. I'll try to get my hand and forearm strengthened up immediately into October and November, then I might try to go play winter ball somewhere and get some at-bats and get back into games and playing before Spring Training starts again."

Clevenger hasn't played winter ball since going to Venezuela in 2011 while he was with the Cubs, but he's ready to do whatever it takes to get back on the diamond. He had his sights set on rejoining the Mariners when rosters could be expanded in September, but the elbow flareup wiped out those plans.

"It's definitely been a weird year, but things like that happen," he said. "I'm going to keep a positive attitude. Rick and those guys have been great. We've done everything we can to get back on the field, so I'm not going to hang my head about it."

Clevenger, who was acquired from the Orioles last winter for Mark Trumbo, will be eligible for arbitration for the first time this offseason and is under Mariners control for the next three seasons.

Worth noting

Adam Lind's batting-practice session on Friday didn't go as well as hoped as he tried hitting for the first time since spraining his right index finger last Sunday in Oakland, but the first baseman was back at it Saturday and seemed to fare better in the pregame work.

Manager Scott Servais said Lind's status remains "day to day," with Dae-Ho Lee getting the start on Saturday.

• Servais was encouraged by Arquimedes Caminero's 1 2/3 innings of work in Friday's 6-0 loss, as the big right-hander struck out three and walked one with no hits in his first outing in 10 days. Caminero had allowed 11 hits and 11 runs (five earned) with eight walks in six innings over his previous six outings, but spent considerable time with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. over the last week.

"When a guy throws that hard and you're not having much success, there's usually a reason," Servais said. "Either the ball is flat or they're seeing it real well and it's very straight. So we're trying to come up with some different things there, create some angle to his pitches or a little more deception. He's got a great arm, we just have to try to get more out of it."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.