When it comes to life, a common saying is that “time heals all wounds.”
For the Cleveland Indians, they have to make a decision if 17 days is enough time to welcome one of their starting pitchers back to the team’s clubhouse with open arms.
Welcoming or not, the Indians will have pitcher Mike Clevinger back on Wednesday, as he’s gotten the call to come back from the club’s alternate site in Eastlake to start against the AL Central leading Minnesota Twins.
Not only is Clevinger coming back in a key situation against the team they are still chasing in the division with exactly half of the season left, but he’s also making his first start since the Chicago incident earlier in August that could have easily divided the team.
From rumors that Clevinger and teammate Zach Plesac, who also was sent packing to Eastlake, were scolded during a team meeting in Detroit, to reports that a number of players accused the pair of a “breach of trust” by leaving the team’s hotel, there’s been a tense feeling over the team the past few weeks.
Now following the Indians 4-2 win Tuesday night over the Minnesota Twins players as well as acting manager Sandy Alomar Jr. all were asked about how things may play out Wednesday when Clevinger walks back into the Tribe club house.
“The players talked among each other,” Alomar said.
“There was a code of conduct, a piece of paper that was passed around, and we’ve had too many meetings about what happened, it’s time to start healing and move forward.
“I think the players are understanding the situation, at the end of the day it’s one of your teammates, they made a mistake, actually it’s two guys, but it’s time to move on and start the healing process.”
While Clevinger is set to return as well as pitch on Wednesday night, Plesac is still going to have to wait for his opportunity.
The Tribe fifth starter was essentially told by team president Chris Antonetti in a phone call that they just don’t “have an opportunity for him at the Major League level. But, that could change quickly.”
Clevinger is 1-1 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts this season for the Indians. He was replaced in the rotation by Adam Plutko, who at one point was outspoken about the actions of the pair of pitchers when they violated team rules.
"They hurt us bad. They lied to us,” Plutko said back on August 11th.
“They sat here and publicly said things they didn’t follow through on. I’ll let them sit here and tell you how they’re gonna earn our trust back. I don’t need to put words in their mouths.”
Evidently time has humbled the pair according to reports, and for now it’s sounding more and more like players are willing to forgive and forget just to get past the incident and make the most of the second half of the season.
"Move forward. Turn the page. This is a book with a lot of chapters and a lot of pages in it. This is one of those college books. This is not a middle school book. It’s always turn the page. We are on to the next chapter of the book,” Indians SS Francisco Lindor said postgame Tuesday night.
At 18-12 the Indians remain 1.5 back of the Twins for first in the AL Central.
They have the trade deadline staring them square in the face, and some think that Clevinger’s start on Wednesday will be a “showcase” to other teams to see what they could acquire in a trade.
While it would be difficult to make a deal of that high a magnitude with no ability to have scouts looking at minor league talent other than on tape, there’s still plenty of people that think Clevinger and/or Plesac are well on their way out and are on the trade block.
For now, the team is going to welcome back Clevinger and hope that he can turn it up and have a good outing against Twins ace Jose Berrios, a pitcher who has had good success against the Indians.
Shane Bieber, who got the Indians the win on Tuesday night, seems to think at this point enough time has been spent on the situation and it’s time to move forward and win games.
“Yeah no doubt, it’s been time consuming to say the least, but I feel like we have managed it well as a team and in the clubhouse,” Bieber said.
“At this point it’s time to move on, we all have a job to do and that job is to go out and win. (Clevinger) and (Plesac) are some of the best at their job so we need them as well, but I think we’re all excited to kind of move on as a team and get that going.”