The healing process that has been taking place within the Indians organization took another turn toward the positive Tuesday, as team president Chris Antonetti announced that pitcher Mike Clevinger will return to the team Wednesday as the club’s starting pitcher.
Clevinger, along with Zach Plesac, have both spent the last 11 days in Lake County at the team’s alternate site following their violation of team rules earlier in August in Chicago.
The pair broke curfew as well as went against team rules by leaving the team hotel and going out with a group of friends.
Neither told anyone within the Indians organization about leaving the hotel, and the following day Plesac was sent home via car service.
Clevinger sat quiet during a team meeting the following day about sneaking out, but with the team needing a starter on Wednesday Antonetti has felt enough time has passed to move on from the incident.
"It's time to start the healing process with these guys. In order to go places, we're gonna need these guys,” Antonetti said on Tuesday.
"It's time to get a little Sunshine out there, because we've been surrounded by clouds the whole time."
This season Clevinger has started just three games, going 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA. He was likely slated to be the team’s ace out of spring training, but needed knee surgery in February that set him back before the covid-19 pandemic hit.
Now he will get the chance to go out and prove that he’s truly a changed individual, as reports say that the time in Eastlake at the alternate site has humbled both throwers.
As far as Plesac goes, Antonetti said Tuesday that as of now the team doesn't “yet have an opportunity for him at the Major League level. But, that could change quickly.”
Antonetti said that he called Plesac right after he informed Clevinger that he would be returning to the team, basically telling him of the news but to stay ready.
“It’s up to him to continue to pitch the way he’s capable of pitching, continue to put in the work and be an option for us whenever we have the opportunity for it,” Antonetti said.
It seems like a matter of time before Plesac gets the call-up back to the Major League roster again, but again it seems like the Tribe is simply taking their time with the situation and not forcing it.
“We’ll continue to make decisions to put our team in the best decision to be successful,” Antonetti said.
The team president did say that there has been some chats with members of the Major League roster, and that to a man everyone seems ready to welcome Clevinger back.
“We did have engagement with our players. I think he’s ready to come back out to the mound and help us win games,” Antonetti said.
The decision to put Clevinger back on the Tribe roster comes after the team has had struggles in their rotation recently with both Adam Plutko, who took Clevinger’s spot in the rotation, and Carlos Carrasco, who has managed to throw just 12 innings total in his last three starts.
For now, Clevinger is going to get the chance to prove again he belongs, and that time heals and the club is better with the man called “Sunshine” than without him.
"I do feel our team is ready to have Clev back,” Antonetti said.
“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."