CLEVELAND — As the Cleveland Indians move forward, they'll be without two of their starting pitchers for at least the short-term future. On Tuesday, the Indians placed starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac on the restricted list after both players violated the team's coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention protocols.
The Indians' decision comes on the heels of a three-game series against the White Sox in Chicago. After the Indians sent Plesac back to Cleveland on Sunday after it was revealed he went out the night before, the team announced on Monday that it was determined that Clevinger had also been out with his teammate.
As a result, the Indians have decided to have both starting pitchers quarantine for a period of at least three days. Additionally, both will undergo COVID-19 testing and will be required to return at least one negative test before returning to the team.
Clevinger issued the following statement via the Indians on Tuesday evening.
“There is an implicit trust that each of my teammates share as we navigate a season during this pandemic, and I broke that trust. In Chicago, I made the mistake of violating the protocols but the biggest mistake of all was not immediately coming clean to my teammates. I owe them better. I now realize that by even exposing myself to just one person more than necessary, I am putting myself, my teammates, the guys I compete against, the umpires, the staff, the Indians organization as well as the Game that I love at risk. There is no excuse for my actions, and I can only take responsibility and learn from my mistakes. Moving forward, I promise my actions will reflect a full understanding of the protocols set in place while I continue my passion for competing for the incredible Indians’ fans and the City that I adore.”
With Clevinger sidelined for his scheduled start against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, Cleveland will turn to its de facto sixth starter, Adam Plutko. Indians team president Chris Antonetti said that Thursday's off-day will give them additional flexibility in navigating their rotation, with Plesac not scheduled to start again until Saturday against the Detroit Tigers.
But despite Cleveland's pitching depth, the temporary loss of Clevinger and Plesac comes as a blow to a team that will be one-third of the way through a shortened 60-game season. Entering Tuesday night's matchup, the Indians lay claim to a 10-7 record and sit one game back of the Minnesota Twins and a half-game back of the Tigers in the American League Central.