Mike Clevinger, Zach Plesac on Indians Restricted List After COVID-19 Violations

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2020

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger delivers in the third inning in a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Cleveland placed pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac on the restricted list Tuesday after both violated COVID-19 health and safety protocols.  

Both players went out on the town together in Chicago on Saturday night, breaking team rules. 

While Plesac took a rental car back to Cleveland after his violation was discovered, per ESPN, Clevinger flew with the team, which was unaware of his violation. Both pitchers will not be able to rejoin the squad until after posting two negative coronavirus tests within 72 hours. 

It's a major loss for a Cleveland team that has raced out to a 10-7 start and has legitimate postseason aspirations. Plesac, 25, has been superb this season, going 1-1 in three starts with a 1.29 ERA, 0.67 WHIP and 24 strikeouts in 21 innings. 

Clevinger, 29, has gone 1-1 in his three starts with a 3.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 15 strikeouts in 16.2 innings. 

It's fair to question how both players will be received in the clubhouse once they return. Plesac already apologized. 

"I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people," he said in a statement. "I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible, and I am determined to earn my teammates' forgiveness and get back to work."

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But Clevinger's situation is a bit more complicated, given that he didn't reveal he had gone out with Plesac and flew with the team. He also had been vocal last month about the players enforcing the health and safety rules, per Ken Rosenthal and Zack Meisel of The Athletic:

"This isn't going to be a 'run to daddy' kind of thing. We're going to handle it in-house. This is a player discipline thing. Keep the coaches, front office kind of out of it. It puts a little extra accountability, kind of. Just having that trust in your teammates is a big thing. It's a big thing on the field. If you feel your teammate doesn't trust you off the field how are you going to feel like he trusts you when you get between the lines?"

Now his teammates could be the ones with questions about trust.