Indians' pitcher says clubhouse was hurt by teammates breaking protocol: 'They lied to us'

Mark Townsend
·Yahoo Sports Contributor
·3 min read

The fallout continues after Cleveland Indians pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac violated Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 protocols last weekend in Chicago. Only now, we’re starting to hear how other Indians’ players feel about the situation.

Speaking to the media following Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, fellow pitcher Adam Plutko didn’t mince his words when detailing the sentiment toward Clevinger and Plesac in the Indians clubhouse. Most notably, Plutko says many players felt hurt after being lied to.

Both pitchers have been placed on the restricted list.

Plesac was sent home Sunday after the team learned he left the hotel in Chicago to celebrate his victory on Saturday. Cleveland didn’t know it then, but learned Monday that Clevinger broke the same protocols. Both players will be required to quarantine for 72 hours. Both have also since issued apologies for their actions.

First, here’s Plesac’s statement:

“I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions on Sunday evening,” Plesac said, via The Athletic. “I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people. I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.”

Here is Clevinger’s statement:

“There is an implicit trust that each of my teammates share as we navigate a season during this pandemic, and I broke that trust. In Chicago, I made the mistake of violating the protocols but the biggest mistake of all was not immediately coming clean to my teammates. I owe them better. I now realize that by even exposing myself to just one person more than necessary, I am putting myself, my teammates, the guys I compete against, the umpires, the staff, the Indians organization as well as the Game that I love at risk. There is no excuse for my actions, and I can only take responsibility and learn from my mistakes. Moving forward, I promise my actions will reflect a full understanding of the protocols set in place while I continue my passion for competing for the incredible Indians’ fans and the City that I adore.”

Clevinger was originally scheduled to start Tuesday’s game against the Cubs. Plutko stepped in but took the loss after allowing one run on four hits over four innings.

Plutko’s comments weren’t the first directed at Plesac and Clevinger by an Indians’ player. Though they are the harshest words on record.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor released a strong statement earlier on Tuesday that focused on their decisions and the need for players to be selfless while playing through these unique circumstances.

Entering play on Tuesday, Cleveland’s pitching staff had posted a league-best 2.04 ERA. Both Plesac and Clevinger are a big part of that, which is why there is so much frustration over their actions.

Assuming both return soon, Cleveland’s rotation should remain one of the best in baseball. But both men will have more important work to do to earn back their teammates’ trust.

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