Aug. 10: Plesac issued the following statement late last night (link via Mandy Bell of MLB.com):
I would like to apologize to my teammates, the entire Cleveland organization and all of our fans for my actions Saturday evening. 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.
Aug. 9: The Indians have sent pitcher Zach Plesac home to Cleveland after discovering that Plesac violated MLB’s health and safety protocols by going out in Chicago on Saturday night, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Per Rosenthal, Plesac has been isolated from the team and will be required to quarantine for at least three days, with daily testing, before the Indians decide how to proceed.
The Indians’ action against Plesac is illustrative of MLB teams’ heightened diligence in preventing outbreaks of COVID-19 similar to those that have cost the Marlins and Cardinals considerable portions of their respective seasons. We’ve seen how quickly one case can turn into fifteen or more, as in the Marlins case, and teams would do well to operate quickly and carefully in their efforts to prevent such a spread.
As ESPN’s Jeff Passan adds, the Indians have garnered a reputation as being one of baseball’s most committed organizations in upholding proper coronavirus protocols, and their swift discipline of an emerging star demonstrates that commitment. It’s encouraging to see teams exhibit a willingness to sacrifice their immediate interests in favor of protecting the long-term health of the baseball season.
Plesac pitched on Saturday afternoon against the White Sox, tossing six innings of scoreless ball and striking out seven batters. The 25-year-old has enjoyed a brilliant start to his season, emerging as an increasingly reliable member of the Indians’ already-strong rotation.
Given the Indians’ schedule, Plesac was set to go next on Thursday in Detroit. Should Plesac consistently test negative in the coming days, it appears as though he could be cleared in time for that start, though of course the Indians may opt to take further preventative measures and hold Plesac out for a longer period in the interest of safety. And if Cleveland’s initial decision is indicative of their mindset, one figures that the club would not hesitate to err on the side of caution with such a timeline.