Indians option Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac to alternate site after team meeting

Ryan Lewis
rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac throws against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020.

Indians pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were both given their chance to share some thoughts with the team in Detroit, but neither will yet be rejoining the active roster just yet.

Clevinger and Plesac both broke the team's code of conduct and health protocols last weekend Chicago, which resulted in both being placed on the restricted list and being told they needed to quarantine for 72 hours.

On Friday, the Indians reinstated both pitchers from the restricted list but then optioned them to the team's alternate site in Eastlake. This decision followed a team meeting in Detroit.

Clevinger and Plesac on Thursday night individually drove up to Detroit, where the team has a series against the Tigers this weekend. Both had all of their baseball gear with them, as the team hadn't yet decided what roster moves would be made. The Indians held a team meeting Friday morning with Clevinger and Plesac included to clear the air and allow anyone in the room to speak. Following that meeting, it was decided that both would be sent to the team's alternate site.

Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said the decision wasn't "punitive" but rather the best choice for the team to win games in the immediate future. Both pitchers will remain on a throwing schedule leading into their next start, which has yet to be determined.

"A little bit in way of that decision, we spent time thinking about what puts our team tonight in the best chance to win and give our team the best chance to win," Antonetti said on a Zoom call. "For the time being, we made the determination that it made the most sense to, in order to be the best team we can be, we made the decisions we did to option them to the alternate site. Now it’s up to them to go down there, put the work in and be an option for us moving forward as we seek to build the best team we can and try to win a World Series."

Neither Antonetti nor manager Terry Francona would divulge many details of what was said during the team meeting. But it has been made clear over the previous week that many in the clubhouse are frustrated with the actions of Clevinger and Plesac, which not only added a health risk but all involved but also caused a distraction.

"I don’t want to dive into too many of the details, but I do think there was a feeling like we want to be able to focus on the team, all pull in the same direction and go out and just try to focus on winning games," Antonetti said. "And not deal with anything else that doesn’t directly contribute to helping us win games. So that was consideration for us as we made our decision."

Plesac released a six-minute video while driving in which he discussed his actions and blamed the media for the negative portrayal. He also made the point that they were never with more than eight people.

When asked if he had seen the video, Francona simply said, "I was disappointed."

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.

Cleveland Indians' pitcher Mike Clevinger throws against the Minnesota Twins in a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Minneapolis.