One day after Francisco Lindor and Adam Plutko took Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac to task for breaking the team's coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols, Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona acknowledged the obvious: his clubhouse currently has trust issues.
"My goal would never be to be vindictive or put somebody in the penalty box. I don't believe in that," Francona said. "I do believe in being accountable to your teammates. And I know that they've got some trust to earn back and they're going to have to earn that back. And I don't know how easy that will be. If I did, I'd tell you. If I had the exact solution, I'd snap my fingers and we'd do it.
"There's been a lot of conversations. There will continue to be conversations and we will try to do what we think is best for our entire team."
Francona's comments come a day after the Indians placed Clevinger and Plesac on the restricted list after both starting pitchers went out over the weekend while the team was in Chicago to face the White Sox. After the team sent Plesac back to Cleveland on Sunday, it later discovered that Clevinger had also gone out before flying home with the team, forcing the right-hander to miss his start against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday.
After starting in Clevinger's place during the Indians' 7-1 loss, Plutko didn't hold back when expressing how he felt about his teammates' actions.
"They hurt us bad," said Plutko, who earned the loss after allowing one earned run in four innings. "They lied to us. 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."
Speaking to reporters on a Zoom conference call prior to Wednesday night's rematch with the Cubs, Francona acknowledged that the team would have to confront the distraction it's currently facing.
"The players have been pretty upfront that [Clevinger and Plesac] have to earn their trust back," Francona said. "And I understand that. I'd rather be talking about us trying to win a game. But it's the reality of where we are now.
"They made a mistake and they made some pretty bad errors in judgement after their mistakes. And now they have to figure out a way to try to get the trust back of his team."
For their part, both Clevinger and Plesac have issued public apologies since this weekend's incident. They will each remain on the restricted list while quarantining through at least Thursday and undergoing the proper COVID-19 testing before rejoining the team.