CLEVELAND — Indians starter Mike Clevinger flew home with his teammates despite knowing he had broken the club’s COVID-19 protocols by going out with right-hander Zach Plesac during Cleveland’s weekend trip to Chicago, according to a person familiar with the situation.
Clevinger did not admit that he had broken the rules during a team meeting Sunday to discuss Plesac violating the team’s code of conduct, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on Monday night on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
The Indians said Clevinger will be quarantined and tested and will not make his scheduled start Tuesday at home against the Cubs. It’s not yet known if Clevinger and Pleasac have been tested since their violations were reported.
They will have to twice test negative in 72 hours before they’ll be allowed to rejoin in any team activities.
Cleveland arranged a car service to take Plesac home so he wouldn’t be around his teammates in case he had contracted the coronavirus while out with friends on Saturday after he got his first win this season with six strong innings against the White Sox.
Clevinger didn’t acknowledge his misstep to the club and then took the team flight despite knowing he was putting his teammates and staff at risk. One of those teammates is fellow starter Carlos Carrasco, who could have a compromised immune system after being treated for leukemia last year.
The Indians — and other Major League Baseball teams — have established codes of conduct in order to mitigate possible spread of the highly contagious disease. The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins have had numerous games postponed due to virus outbreaks among their players and staff members.
Clevinger and Plesac could be facing additional discipline from the Indians, who have been proactive during baseball’s re-start. They quarantined slugger Franmil Reyes after learning he didn’t wear a mask or practice social distancing while attending a July 4 party.
Team president Chris Antonett and manager Terry Francona, who has been away from the team for the past eight games while dealing with a gastrointestinal issue, are expected to address Clevinger’s situation Tuesday.
Plesac issued an apology on Sunday night to the organization and fans.
“I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people,” Plesac said. “I understand that in these times of uncertainty, I need to be more vigilant and responsible and I am determined to earn my teammates’ forgiveness and get back to work.”
Adam Plutko will start in place of Clevinger, a hard-throwing, free-spirited right-hander who is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA.
On Friday, Clevinger posted a song lyric on Twitter by Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder that seems to underscore his defiant nature.
“I knew all the rules, but the rules did not know me,” Clevinger wrote.
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