Plesac was optioned to Triple-A Columbus on Thursday, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Plesac had a strong performance in the Cactus League, posting a 3.24 ERA with a 9:2 K:BB ration across 8.1 innings. However, with a delayed start to the season, both Mike Clevinger (knee) and Carlos Carrasco (elbow) will have the chance to get healthy and re-claim rotation spots. Meanwhile, Adam Plutko is out of minor-league options, meaning Plesac is now likely to begin the season in Triple-A Columbus' rotation. Still, he should be one of the first names called upon should injuries impact Cleveland's big-league pitching depth.
Plesac will likely either open in the big-league rotation or in the rotation at Triple-A, Mandy Bell of MLB.com reports. Assuming Mike Clevinger (knee) and Carlos Carrasco (elbow) are fully recovered when play resumes, the Indians will either open the year with Adam Plutko in the rotation or in the bullpen, as he is out of options. If Plesac makes the rotation, that would mean Plutko opens the year as a long reliever. Bell notes that Plesac looked "extremely sharp" in his final Cactus League outing against the Giants. He finished spring training with a 3.24 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 9:2 K:BB in 8.1 innings (three starts).
Plesac spent time this offseason learning a new grip for his curveball in an effort to improve pitch accuracy and usage, Ryan Lewis of the Akron Beacon Journal reports. Plesac struggled to locate his curveball in 2019 and only threw it 10 percent of the time. His goal this offseason has been to make the pitch a more consistent weapon to complement his fastball, changeup and slider. The 25-year-old held opposing hitters last season to a .220 batting average against his curveball, while only his changeup was more effective, resulting in a .208 batting average against. Plesac allowed one run on two hits and recorded two strikeouts across two innings in Monday's 12-8 Cactus League loss to the Rockies.
Plesac allowed two runs on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts across five innings in a no-decision against the Nationals on Friday. If it weren't essentially an elimination game for the Indians, manager Terry Francona might have gone with him a little bit longer because Plesac only threw 74 pitches in five frames. Plesac will end the season with two straight no-decisions after posting a complete-game shutout on Sept. 10. He finishes the year with an 8-6 record, 3.81 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and 88 strikeouts in 115.2 innings.
Plesac allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out three against the Phillies on Saturday. He did not factor into the decision. Plesac's outing went fairly well until the fifth inning, when he allowed two of the first three batters he faced to reach base and was pulled. However, Oliver Perez proceeded to allow a three-run homer, with two of those runs charged to Plesac. While his ERA on the season still checks in at a respectable 3.82, Plesac has now surrendered four or more earned runs in four of his last six starts. He'll look to get things back on track in his final regular-season appearance, currently projected to come Friday at Washington.
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