Cleveland recently placed two members of its rotation -- right-handers Zach Plesac and Mike Clevinger -- on the restricted list because they violated COVID-19 protocols. The pair broke the rules by going out in Chicago following a game against the White Sox, in which Plesac made the start and earned his first win of the 2020 season.
Both players have since issues apologies for their actions, but the reality is that the team will be without two important contributors for an uncertain length of time. Given that the 2020 season is abbreviated to just 60 games and given that Cleveland is a legitimate contender this year, this constitutes a significant blow to the team's hopes.
Compounding matters is that Clevinger didn't immediately admit to being with Plesac and wound up flying back with the rest of the team to Cleveland. Obviously, Clevinger in doing could have put many others at risk for exposure, in the event that he contracted COVID-19 while out and about in Chicago.
On Tuesday, right-hander Adam Plutko started in place of Clevinger against the Cubs. On that same day, Plutko gave voice to some of the frustrations that the team is no doubt feeling in the aftermath of Plesac's and Clevinger's decisions. Per USA Today's Bob Nightengale, here's what Plutko had to say:
"They hurt us bad. They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn't follow through on."
Nightengale also has a piece in which other members of the organization, including manager Terry Francona, have somewhat more diplomatic things to say about this turn of events. Plutko, though, seems to be speaking with less reservation.
The frustration is understandable, especially in light of Clevinger's decision to fly with the team. As well, we've already seen with the Marlins and Cardinals that a cluster of infections that drastically alter a team's season. Even if that doesn't happen, Cleveland has lost two vital members of the rotation for a notable chunk of the season -- a season in which they have legitimate designs on making and going deep into the postseason. While they're not saying it, a number of other Cleveland players and staff probably agree with Plutko's sharp words.