Indians Option Mike Clevinger & Zach Plesac To Alternate Site, Backlash Over Breaking COVID Protocol Continues

Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians delivers a pitch
David Berding / Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians have optioned two of the team’s best pitchers to its alternate site. MLB.com reporter Mandy Bell posted on Twitter on Friday that Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac have been officially activated by the club, but won’t be joining their teammates in Cleveland. Instead, the two pitchers are essentially being sent to the minor leagues, as stated here.

Those around the team say this is an extended punishment for the pair breaking coronavirus protocols laid out by the Indians and Major League Baseball, and then lying to their teammates and the front office when they were found out.

Bell said the pair drove together to Detroit in order to be with the Indians in case they were placed on their MLB roster. Instead, the team decided to send them both to the alternate training site in Lake County. Because they are activated from the restricted list, they can be recalled whenever manager Terry Francona and the front office believes they should return.

General manager Chris Antonetti reportedly told Bell that the pitchers were given a chance to discuss things with other members of the Indians and it was after those discussions it was decided the pair would not rejoin the roster just yet. While Cleveland hasn’t said exactly what transpired to make the club think it would be best to keep them in Lake County, Francona did say he saw a recent Instagram video by Plesac and said he was disappointed by what the young pitcher said in the clip. You can view the post here.

Zach Plesac #65 of the Cleveland Indians throws a pitch.
  Mike Carlson / Getty Images

In the Instagram TV posting, Plesac said he wasn’t offering an apology or an excuse, but rather than an explanation for why he broke the Indians’ coronavirus protocol and went out on the town with eight of his friends. While driving around a city, he talked directly into the camera and largely blamed the media for making a bigger deal out of the situation than he felt it deserved.

The second-year hurler was the first to be placed on the restricted list after the Indians found out he had gone out when he as supposed to be locked away in his hotel room. Clevinger was placed there a day later after the club found out he had been there too, and apparently lied about it.

After the two were found out, teammates went public with their frustration over the incident, especially since Clevinger traveled with the rest of the roster after potentially exposing himself by breaking the protocols.

None of the Indians’ top brass gave any indication when either player might be brought back to the majors.