Cleveland announced Friday that it was activating starting pitchers Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac from the restricted list, but also that the team was optioning the duo to the alternate training site with the taxi squad. The pair of pitchers was placed on the restricted list after the club learned that they went out instead of staying in their hotel rooms on a road trip in Chicago this past weekend, breaking COVID-19 protocols in the process. Plesac left the team to drive back to Cleveland, but Clevinger didn't admit it until after he flew back with the team.
The move to option them can't be performance-related. Plesac has a 1.29 ERA and 0.67 WHIP in three starts. Clevinger has an excellent track record and has a 3.24 ERA in three starts this season.
"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."
Plesac Thursday posted a six-plus minute video -- while he was driving, mind you -- talking about the situation. He didn't apologize, but instead blamed "the media."
Reporting around the situation shows the clubhouse is continuing to have issues with both players, too, so it's possible this demotion is due to that. Sure enough, general manager Chris Antonetti said the following:
Chris Antonetti said that Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit last night with their baseball stuff to be ready for any decision the club made. They both had a chance to talk to their teammates and staff before it was ultimately decided it'd be best for the team to option them.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 14, 2020
As things stand, two good major-league pitchers are heading to the alternate training site in the middle of a shortened season. It wasn't "the media" who told them to go out and break protocol and now their team suffers.
Maybe the demotion will offer Plesac and Clevinger some perspective. In the meantime, their team has lost two straight games and is tied for the final AL playoff spot at present with the White Sox.