CLEVELAND, Ohio – Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac admitted in a statement by the team on Sunday that he “made a bad choice to leave the hotel” on Saturday when he went out with friends in Chicago for a few hours barely after throwing Cleveland to a win over the White Sox.
The 25-year-old native of Crown Pointe, Ind. Apologized to his teammates, the Indians organization and fans for violating protocols put in place by Major League Baseball and the code of conduct accepted by Cleveland players to help prevent the spread of coronavirus among players .
“I understand that in these uncertain times I need to be more vigilant and responsible,” the Plesac statement read. “I am determined to earn the forgiveness of my teammates and get back to work.”
According to Indian President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti, the exact time of the return to work could occur. The Indians won’t need a fifth starter until August 22 against Detroit, so the club were already considering a series of line-up moves that could have seen Plesac head to the bullpen or go for the alternate site. Eastlake where he could lie down.
The club also have two players, Tyler Naquin and Roberto Perez, who are preparing to come off the injured list and will need space on the 28-man roster.
“We have a lot of work to do to determine what the next set of moves might be,” Antonetti said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”
But Antonetti stressed that ensuring the health and safety of the players and the Indians travel group was what required Plesac’s isolation on Sunday.
“We all got together and talked about the importance of looking out for each other and making sure we do our best to minimize risk,” said Antonetti. “Zach’s behavior, unfortunately, was inconsistent with this.
Antonetti said Plesac will be in self-quarantine for 72 hours or more and start to undergo daily COVID-19 tests. Before leaving Chicago, Plesac and his driver both underwent on-site point-of-service testing. The Indians hired a car service to bring Plesac back to Cleveland rather than drive him home with his teammates.
Antonetti said the Indian players met ahead of Sunday’s game and spent time talking about their thoughts and feelings on the situation.
“These are comments that we will receive here over the next few days or two and factor them into what our net footsteps might be,” said Antonetti.
Teammates such as Shane Bieber have said the players will deal with Plesac’s indiscretion within the clubhouse.
“We love Zach and we support him, but he screwed up,” Bieber said. “What we talked about as a team was that we had to focus on one thing at a time and that was the game. I’m proud of the guys for making it out and winning. We’re going to handle this internally and we’ll see where it goes from here.
Thanks to three starts, Plesac was among the most dominant Indians starting pitchers, allowing just three runs in 21 innings with 24 strikeouts and two goals.
Regardless of when Plesac throws again for Cleveland, he could still face organizational discipline. Manager Terry Francona was not with the Chicago club as he recovers from a gastrointestinal issue that left him sidelined for more than a week of games. Antonetti said more conversations will take place this week with Francona likely involved.
“At this point, we’ll take a little time and then assess what might be the appropriate next steps,” said Antonetti.
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