Indians starter Zach Plesac details actions of breaking team protocol, blames media for negative portrayal

Ryan Lewis
rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com
Zach Plesac

Indians starter Zach Plesac posted a more than six-minute video to his Instagram account detailing his actions the night he broke the team's code of conduct and health protocols.

Plesac, along with Mike Clevinger a day later, were placed on the restricted list by the Indians for breaking those protocols while the team was in Chicago. Both had to quarantine for 72 hours.

Plesac recorded the video while he was driving, with the caption saying it wasn't a justification or an apology for his actions.

"After my start I want out to dinner with some buddies. We ended up going back to his place," Plesac said in the video. "Same group that we went to dinner with. We opened up baseball cards, picked our top two dudes from each pack. We’re throwing bets down. Just having a good time, hanging out. We broke curfew, I came back late. I was reported by MLB security being out in public and coming back late to curfew. The president of baseball operations decided to quarantine me for three days. Just in case if I was exposed to COVID then it wouldn’t spread to the rest of the team. It was a great decision on his part, so I did my time."

Plesac said he asked the doctor about the CDC safety protocols, though those might be different in some areas than the code of conduct laid out by the Indians.

"I’ve had to take these nasal swabs, both negative," Plesac said. "I asked the doctor today what is a safe environment for us to be in? Things are inevitable. You’re going to see people, you’re going to socially interact. You can’t sit in a room all day, that’s the truth of the matter. ... I wanted to know how we can be safe and moving forward how I can basically make sure nobody else who are high risk get put in danger. Asked about CDC protocol on safe gatherings. He wasn’t sure. 'It just changed state to state.' Asked Ohio’s protocol? He didn’t have an answer for me.

"I did a little research. It’s changing day to day. Ten people or less considered a safe gathering, especially if you’re six feet apart. ... That entire night, dinner and hanging out at a buddy’s place after, we were not with more than eight people the entire night."

Plesac also blamed the media for its negative portrayal, saying he practiced safe actions under the CDC guidelines. But those guidelines differ from the code of conduct and the health protocols set forth by the Indians and Major League Baseball, a well as the individual accountability the Indians have repeatedly preached from the beginning of summer camp as a clubhouse and an organization.

There was no mandate from the league that Plesac and Clevinger be placed on the restricted list. That was solely the Indians' decision after learning they had broken protocol. The Indians then sent Plesac back home to Chicago with a car service.

"The media really is terrible, man," Plesac said. "They do some evil things to create stories and to make things sound better … makes things sound worse. Truthfully, I’m disgusted the way the media’s handled this whole situation surrounding our team.

"The media is portraying me and my best friend and teammate to be malicious with our actions, when we were really … not justifying what we did, because we left the hotel and according to the new rules we weren’t supposed to leave. But according to the CDC and these guidelines with corona, we were practicing safe practices in a small group with people who we know have been tested and came back to our curfew late, which was 10 p.m. ... And clearly been exposed as being bad teammates, bad people and dragged across the mud.

“So it’s hard to sit here and watch how things shuffle out and people not knowing the truth. I wanted to voice my opinion. I understand that there are risks people are taking to play this game and the last thing I would want to do is put anybody at risk. The last thing I would want to do. My little brother has Type-1 diabetes, my mom’s a nurse. I understand the significance of this illness and this disease and I know how important it is that we must follow certain procedures and guidelines to ensure safety for the entirety of a group."

Several members of the Indians' clubhouse have voiced their disapproval of the actions of Clevinger and Plesac for not only putting themselves at increased risk, but also potentially their teammates. It also disrupted the pitching staff, which at that point still hadn't allowed more than four runs in any game, as both players had to be isolated, thus dictating multiple roster moves.

Indians ace Shane Bieber said that while the team supports Plesac, "He screwed up." Indians manager Terry Francona said, "This one kinda hurts" and that the team-released statements of apology from both pitchers was a "first step." Adam Plutko, who was pushed into a start on short notice on Tuesday night, had more to say.

"They hurt us bad. They lied to us," Plutko said on a Zoom call, speaking to lost trust in the clubhouse. "They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on. It’s gonna be up to them. It really is. I’ll let them sit here and tell you how they’re gonna earn their trust back. I don’t need to put words in their mouths. The term that I continue to hear, and excuse my language, is ‘grown-ass man.’ So those grown-ass men can sit here and tell you guys what happened and tell you guys what they’re gonna do to fix it. I don’t need to do that for them."

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.

Indians at Tigers

Time: 6:10 p.m.

TV: STO

Pitchers: Shane Bieber (3-0, 1.63) vs. Spencer Turnbull (2-0, 2.00)

Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac detailed the night he broke Indians protocols and blames the media for a negative portrayal of his actions in a six-minute Instagram video.