Indians manager Terry Francona sees Marlins situation as 'stark reminder' of the times

Ryan Lewis
rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com
Rangers starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning Sunday. Kluber was removed from the game after one inning.

It took four days for Major League Baseball to run into an issue, one that will stand as the first test of the league's protocols and health measures taken to try to complete a season.

The Miami Marlins have had at least 13 positive COVID-19 cases in recent days, according to an ESPN report, and just completed a series in Philadelphia. In response, the league postponed both the Marlins-Orioles and Yankees-Phillies games that were scheduled for Monday so the league could conduct additional testing.

After only the opening weekend of games, MLB is dealing with its first major issue with COVID-19.

"We get caught up in who we’re playing and seeing if we can beat them, but in the end, we’re all one industry," Indians manager Terry Francona said on a Zoom call. "Everybody pretty much knows everybody else. You don’t ever wish stuff like that on anybody. It’s a stark reminder of the times we’re in and how quickly it can go from person to person."

The Indians' first road trip, to Minnesota, is coming up following a series against the Chicago White Sox. President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and several others over the past several weeks have gone over the protocols from MLB and the importance of being diligent with caution and health. The Indians have gone over those traveling protocols again.

"We’re having the guys go upstairs to where we’re allowed to meet and have the training staff and medical staff talk to them and go over some reminders," Francona said. "And also, because our first road trip is coming up in a couple days, talk about some of those protocols. Again, they’re mostly reminders or refreshers. But because of what has happened and what could happen, I don’t think it ever hurts to drive home the point again."

Postponed

Monday's game with between the Indians and White Sox at Progressive Field was postponed due to rain Monday night. The game will be made up as a traditional doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game starting at 3:30 p.m. and the second game starting roughly 45 minutes after the first game's conclusion.

Aaron Civale was scheduled to start Monday's game, with Zach Plesac taking the mound in the second game. But due to the Indians not having any off days until Aug. 10, it will be Civale (vs. Dylan Cease) and Adam Plutko (vs. Carlos Rodon) taking the mound on Tuesday. That will alleviate a later issue with all five starters needing at least four off days between starts. It will also allow the Indians to push back Shane Bieber to their series against the Twins. Plutko made the Indians' 30-man roster in part as insurance for the bullpen, though he'll now help to line up the starters to the Indians' advantage.

Kluber down

After essentially a lost 2019 season due to a freak injury, Corey Kluber made it through just one inning before leaving the game in his first start with the Texas Rangers. On Monday, Kluber, who was traded by the Indians in the offseason, was diagnosed with with a grade 2 Teres Major (shoulder) strain and will be shut down for four weeks before being reevaluated. Considering the time it would take to resume throwing after resting for a month, it's unknown if Kluber will return to the mound this season, especially as a starting pitcher. At best, he'll miss the vast majority of 2020 as well.

"I reached out to him and texted with him an hour ago. Just telling him that I’m thinking about him. That’s tough," Francona said. "He’s really run into some tough luck. He was coming back last year and the oblique got in the way. Now he’s an inning into ... you know. I don’t care who they’re with, or they’re not with you anymore. Whatever the circumstances, you certainly feel for that. That doesn’t make anybody feel good."

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read more about the Indians at www.beaconjournal.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at @ByRyanLewis.