Clevinger and Plesac, both members of Cleveland’s starting pitching rotation, were optioned to the team’s alternate site on Friday after they violated COVID-19 protocols during a road trip in Chicago earlier this month.
Before the decision to move Clevinger and Plesac away from the team for at least the next 10 days was reached, the two were “scolded” by teammates during a “testy” meeting on Friday, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. While some Indians teammates accepted their apologies and were ready to move on, at least one player — veteran reliever Oliver Perez, per ESPN — threatened to opt out of the season if Clevinger and Plesac were allowed to remain on the active roster.
According to ESPN, some Cleveland players were upset with Clevinger and Plesac not only for breaking protocol, but their actions after getting caught doing so.
Indians players' disappointment centered not only on the decision made by Clevinger and Plesac to leave the team hotel in Chicago on Aug. 7 but their actions afterward. Some players, sources said, believed Clevinger was not truthful with them about his involvement before he boarded the team plane Aug. 9. By then, Plesac, who had been caught trying to return to the hotel early on the morning of Aug. 8, had been sent back to Cleveland.
Per Passan’s reporting, other players expressed similar sentiments to Perez, who reportedly “said he would leave the team” if Clevinger and Plesac rejoined the team for their weekend series in Detroit.
Both Clevinger, 29, and Plesac, 25, have tested negative for COVID-19, but the “breach of trust,” as ESPN termed it, is a lingering issue. When the organization learned that Plesac had gone out with friends during the Chicago trip, he was ordered to immediately quarantine away from the team for three days.
Plesac, after MLB security learned he had broken protocol, was sent back to Cleveland via a car service so he would not potentially risk infecting his teammates. Clevinger, however, did not tell the club he was with Plesac and flew with the team.
Teammate: Clevinger and Plesac ‘hurt us bad’
Adam Plutko on Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac: "They hurt us bad. They lied to us. They sat here...and publicly said things they didn’t follow through on. ... I’ll let them sit here and tell you how they’re gonna earn our trust back. I don’t need to put words in their mouths.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 12, 2020
Francisco Lindor delivers a strong message after teammates Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac broke team protocols. pic.twitter.com/TDj1FvV44C— Yahoo Sports MLB (@MLByahoosports) August 11, 2020
Plesac seemingly did not help matters Thursday — the day before the team meeting — when he vented about the situation in an Instagram video. In the video he recorded while driving, Plesac confirmed that he broke curfew and also lamented that the media is “terrible” and does “evil things to create stories.” Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters he was “disappointed” with Plesac’s video.
Cleveland sweeps Detroit without Clevinger, Plesac
Per MLB rules, Clevinger and Plesac will remain at the team’s alternate site for at least 10 days after being optioned.
The two have been significant contributors for the team so far in the 2020 season. Plesac has a sparkling 1.29 ERA in 21 innings over three starts while Clevinger, a mainstay in the Indians’ rotation over the past three seasons, has a 3.24 ERA in 16 ⅔ innings.
Despite their absences, Cleveland improved to 13-9 after sweeping the Tigers over the weekend. The team has Monday off before returning to action on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday.
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