Mike Clevinger will make his first start with the Indians since being optioned as a defacto punishment for violating league safety protocols earlier this month. According to MLB.com’s Mandy Bell, Clevinger will start Wednesday against the Twins.
Mike Clevinger will start for the Indians tomorrow against the Twins.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 25, 2020
Clevinger’s last outing was a 5.2-inning scoreless outing against the Cincinnati Reds in which he struck out four but walked five. Prior to being optioned, he pitched a total of 16.2 innings with a 3.24 ERA, 6.25 FIP and almost as many walks (10) as strikeouts (15). He will be taking the spot of a struggling Adam Plutko who allowed seven runs in just 3.1 innings in his last start against the Tigers.
The biggest hurdle for getting Clevinger back into the rotation is nothing physical. He had a knee surgery last year that may have caused lingering issues to start the season, but he’s still more than a capable starter. The real test will be acclimating back into the clubhouse after being untruthful about leaving the team hotel in Chicago and potentially exposing the entire team, including leukemia survivor Carlos Carrasco, to COVID-19.
On that, club president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti seems confident that the team is ready to accept Clevinger:
Chris Antonetti: "I do feel our team is ready to have Clev back. ... Mike has had a chance to reflect over the course of the last week to 10 days and is really eager to rejoin the team."— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) August 25, 2020
As for Zach Plesac, the other player optioned after a night out on the town?
Chris Antonetti said he called Zach Plesac after the decision was made to have Mike Clevinger start tomorrow and he explained to Plesac that they don't have an opportunity for him at this time at the Major League level.— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) August 25, 2020