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MLB notebook

Upset Indians pitcher Zach Plesac tries to clear the air

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac tried to clear the air about the team violation he and teammate Mike Clevinger committed when the two righthanded pitchers went out to dinner with friends in Chicago last Saturday.
Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac tried to clear the air about the team violation he and teammate Mike Clevinger committed when the two righthanded pitchers went out to dinner with friends in Chicago last Saturday.Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

Cleveland Indians pitcher Zach Plesac feels he and teammate Mike Clevinger have been unfairly portrayed as “bad people” in the aftermath of the pitchers being quarantined by the team for violating COVID-19 protocols last weekend in Chicago.

Plesac said he posted a six-minute video on his Instagram page Thursday to " get out the truth” to fans about his situation.

The 25-year-old acknowledged breaking team curfew last Saturday after he and Clevinger left the team hotel, went out to dinner and socialized with Plesac’s friends. Plesac had pitched earlier in the day, getting the win as the Indians beat the White Sox.

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After the Indians were told by Major League Baseball security about the players being out in public, the team got a car service to drive Plesac home so he wouldn't risk exposing himself to teammates if he had been infected by the coronavirus.

Clevinger didn't tell the team he was with Plesac and flew home with the team.

The Indians placed the two righthanders on the restricted list Tuesday, when fellow pitcher Adam Plutko said Plesac and Clevinger had “hurt us bad. They lied to us.”

On Wednesday, manager Terry Francona said Plesac and Clevinger “got some trust to earn back and they’re gonna have to earn that back.”

Plesac maintains his actions weren't malicious and that he and Clevinger practiced social distancing when they were with a small group at dinner and then afterward. Plesac said he has twice tested negative for the virus and understands the risks he took by going out.

While he didn't deny breaking the team's code of conduct implemented to keep players safe, Plesac said reports about him and Clevinger have not been fair.

“The media is terrible, man,” Plesac said in the video. “They do some evil things to create stories and make things sound better and make things sound worse.”

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Zach Plesac, left, and Mike Clevinger smile for a photo as they stand in the dugout before a spring training game in March.
Zach Plesac, left, and Mike Clevinger smile for a photo as they stand in the dugout before a spring training game in March.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Plesac said he and Clevinger were within CDC guidelines when they left the team hotel and were never with “more than eight people the entire night.”

He feels he and Clevinger are being cast as “bad teammates, bad people and dragged across the mud.”

Plesac said he understands the risks with COVID-19 and that his brother has Type 1 Diabetes and his mother is a nurse.

“It breaks my heart for people to think I’m a bad teammate or a bad person. But I wanted to share with you guys that moving forward, there’s a selflessness lesson taught here and at the end of the day, I want everybody to be healthy. I want to be a good teammate. I want to win baseball games, man. That’s all I want to do.”

Privacy laws prevent the Indians from disclosing test results for Plesac and Clevinger The team has also not said if the pair will be subjected to further discipline.

Strasburg ejected — from seat in stands

Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg earned one of baseball’s most unique ejections — probably ever — in the third inning of Washington’s game against the New York Mets on Thursday.

Strasburg was sitting in Section 121 at Citi Field in this socially distant season because he’s scheduled to start Friday against Baltimore Orioles. He was apparently unhappy with the strike zone of plate umpire Carlos Torres after Austin Voth’s 2-2 pitch to Pete Alonso on the outside corner was ruled a ball.

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Stephen Strasburg leaves the stands after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes during Thursday's game.
Stephen Strasburg leaves the stands after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes during Thursday's game.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Moments later, Torres ejected last year's World Series MVP, though it took a few seconds to realize who had been tossed.

Someone was heard yelling: “You’re [expletive] brutal” shortly before television cameras captured Strasburg doffing his cap as he walked up the staircase on his way out of the park.

Tomas Nido had his first two-homer game as a professional, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth and a grand slam in the fifth to lead the Mets to an 8-2 win over the Nationals and a split of the four-game series.

Nido, who entered Thursday with five homers and 26 RBIs over 93 games in parts of four big league seasons, is just the fifth catcher in Mets history to hit at least two homers and collect at least six RBIs in a game. Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Mike Piazza did it twice apiece and Todd Hundley and Paul Lo Duca once each.

McNeil hurt in wallbanger

Mets left fielder Jeff McNeil was carted off the field after crashing into the left field wall in the first inning to rob the Nationals’ Asdrubal Cabrera of a two-run extra-base hit.

New York's Brandon Nimmo, right, checks on left fielder Jeff McNeil after he injured himself during the first inning of Thursday's game.
New York's Brandon Nimmo, right, checks on left fielder Jeff McNeil after he injured himself during the first inning of Thursday's game.Seth Wenig/Associated Press

McNeil, a natural infielder who has been manning both outfielder corners for the Mets since last year, raced at full speed to the warning track and made an impressive lunging catch for the final out of the inning. He crashed into the wall with both arms extended and raised his glove hand as he fell to indicate he had the ball.

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But McNeil was in obvious pain as he covered his eyes with both hands and yelled before flinging his glove off. He briefly tried getting up but only made it a few steps with a trainer and manager Luis Rojas before sitting back down.