Even as teams like the Marlins and the Cardinals have seen -- and are currently seeing -- their 2020 seasons flash before their eyes, some MLB players are still finding ways to violate team and league rules regarding health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to MLB insiders Ken Rosenthal and Zack Meisel, Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was sent home to Cleveland after going out with friends during the team's road trip against the Chicago White Sox.
Plesac pitched the Saturday game, throwing six innings without allowing a run while striking out seven batters. Even after such a strong outing, the Indians are having Plesac quarantine for 72 hours while undergoing daily testing until he's able to be reinstated.
Plesac issued an apology after the report came out.
"I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions Saturday evening," Plesac said in a statement (via CBS Sports). "I realize I made a poor choice to leave the hotel, which broke protocols and could have endangered other people. 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."
On Monday, ESPN's Jeff Passan announced that Mike Clevinger had also gone out with Plesac.
The Indians released a statement following their discovery of Clevinger's actions (via Mandy Bell of MLB.com):
Today the organization learned that RHP Mike Clevinger violated team protocols on the club's recent road trip to Chicago. He has been instructed to quarantine and will undergo subsequent testing while away from the team. RHP Adam Plutko will start in his place on Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs. The Cleveland Indians will continue to keep the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff members as our top priority.
In the latest agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association, the league's health and safety protocols were made more strict, with Commissioner Rob Manfred telling MLBPA leader Tony Clark that he could shut down the season if players don't do a better job of following the protocol (via Jill Martin and Cesar Marin of CNN). Additionally, a rule was set in place that stated that players must notify the team's compliance officer if they leave the hotel for any reason.
Passan notes that Cleveland has been one of the teams who has been "extremely stringent with protocols" and is "universally respected for their vigilance."
Plesac spoke on life during coronavirus back in July with reporters, in which he gave the response below..
Clevinger had also spoken on life during coronavirus, stressing that players' trust toward each other was key and that he'd prefer to leave team staff out of it.
"We're going to handle it in-house," Clevinger said in late July (via Rosenfeld and Meisel). "This is a player discipline thing. Keep the coaches, front office kind of out of it. It puts a little extra accountability, kind of. Just having that trust in your teammates is a big thing.
"If you feel your teammate doesn't trust you off the field how are you going to feel like he trusts you when you get between the lines?"