Mike Clevinger to Start for Indians Wednesday After Breaking COVID-19 Protocols

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2020

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Mike Clevinger delivers in the first inning during a preseason baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Monday, July 20, 2020, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Cleveland Indians pitcher Mike Clevinger will start on Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins in his return after being sent to the team's alternate site for violating the team's code of conduct, according to Tom Withers of the Associated Press. 

Clevinger and fellow pitcher Zach Plesac reportedly left the team hotel to have dinner in Detroit earlier this month, breaking the COVID-19 protocols. Clevinger reportedly also lied about going out before traveling on the team plane, risking exposing his teammates to the disease, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

It caused a rift within the team with at least one player reportedly threatening to opt out if the two remained on the active roster, per Passan.

They were sent to the team's alternate site for at least 10 days, with Clevinger now getting a chance to rejoin the squad.

Indians president Chris Antonetti told Plesac he doesn't have an opportunity at the major league level at this time, per Mandy Bell of MLB.com.

Clevinger has proved himself on the mound, totaling a 3.24 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 16.2 innings so far in 2020. He had a 2.96 ERA combined from 2016-18, striking out 10.3 batters per nine innings in this stretch.

The 29-year-old might still have to mend some fences within the organization after upsetting teammates this month.

"They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn't follow through on," pitcher Adam Plutko told reporters. "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."

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Clevinger could be traded ahead of next Monday's deadline.