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Baseball Daily Dose

Cavalier Clevinger Chastened by Cleveland

by Nathan Grimm
Updated On: August 11, 2020, 10:55 am ET

Indians manager Terry Francona is expected to rejoin the Indians on Tuesday.

Not joining them Tuesday: Mike Clevinger.

A day after starter Zach Plesac was sent home for violating health and safety protocols, the Indians announced Clevinger will not make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Cubs after he reportedly went out with Plesac -- but, by virtue of the team only finding out about it on Monday, was not sent home, instead flying back with the team -- in Chicago over the weekend. Adam Plutko will start in place of Clevinger on Tuesday.

"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," the team said in a statement Monday evening.

"The Cleveland Indians will continue to keep the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff members as our top priority."

That last sentence is the most important one. The actions of Plesac and Clevinger would be irresponsible on any team, but their disregard for the health of Francona -- who's 61 years old and was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic a week ago due to a lingering gastrointestinal issue -- and rotation-mate Carlos Carrasco -- whose battle with chronic myeloid leukemia last season was one of the biggest off-field storylines of the year -- is troubling.

What the Indians do with Clevinger will be interesting. He'll have to quarantine for 72 hours and will be tested for COVID-19, and if he happens to test positive the decision will be taken out of their hands. If he's negative, though, and able to return to the rotation as early as this weekend, will he?

Indians president Chris Antonetti told reporters the team was considering optioning Plesac to the alternate training site or moving him to the bullpen even before Saturday's incident -- the club has enough off days to get by without a fifth starter until August 22 -- but Clevinger, one of the game's best pitchers when healthy, is more integral to the team's plans. In three starts this season the 29-year-old has a 3.24 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 15/10 K/BB ratio across 16 2/3 innings.

We'll see when we see Clevinger next. The only thing we know at this point is that it won't be Tuesday.

Stroman The Latest to Opt Out in 2020

One pitcher we know we won't see any time soon is Marcus Stroman.

Stroman, who has been on the injured list all season with a left calf tear, announced on Monday that he's decided to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season.

"After much consideration and discussion with my family, I have made the difficult decision to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season," Stroman said in a statement on his Twitter. "With all the unknowns and uncertainty due to the pandemic, this is the best decision for me and my family. I appreciate the Mets organization for their support and understanding, and look forward to returning to baseball next season."

The decision prematurely ends Stroman's 2020 season, and also likely spells the end of his brief time with the Mets. The team acquired the 29-year-old from the Blue Jays at last year's trade deadline, and in 11 starts last summer he posted a 3.77 ERA, 1.475 WHIP and 60/23 K/BB ratio across 59 2/3 innings. He'll be a free agent this winter.

The timing is disappointing for many reasons, including that Stroman had worked hard in recent weeks to get back on the field after the calf tear. Despite the injury having the potential to end or severely limit his season before it even started, Stroman was determined to be back ahead of schedule, and was close to returning -- before Monday's news, the most recent blurb on Stroman's Player News page was that he was going to throw another simulated game on Tuesday before possibly rejoining the Mets' rotation later in the week.

For the Mets, the news means David Peterson's stay in the rotation will be extended for the foreseeable future, and in the near term Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen suggested Robert Gsellman or possibly even relief ace Seth Lugo could move into the rotation as well. Gsellman doesn't offer much to get excited about, but if Lugo does get stretched out he's suddenly an interesting fantasy player given how good he's been out of the bullpen. It's a situation to keep an eye on, if nothing else.

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Rays 'Optimistic' Morton Will Be Back Soon

The Rays are hoping it won't be long before they see Charlie Morton back on the mound.

Morton was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with right shoulder inflammation, a day after Morton told reporters he was "not worried about missing much time" due to the ailment that necessitated his early exit from Sunday's game against the Yankees. On Monday, Rays manager Kevin Cash echoed Morton's sentiments.

“The first date back would be ideal and then that’s us being optimistic, but we have plenty of reason to be optimistic right now,” Cash said. “We’re optimistic as we speak right now that this is gonna be a short stint. We’ve just got to allow him the time to get through the muscle soreness and then get going.”

Hopefully a short break will be good for the 36-year-old, and the Morton who returns will look more like the one we've come to expect in recent seasons. In four starts this year, Morton has an uncharacteristic 5.40 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 21 innings of work. A year ago he posted a 3.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 33 starts, finishing third in American League Cy Young voting.

Aaron Slegers will likely start for the Rays on Tuesday and Anthony Banda on Thursday. Yonny Chirinos is also traveling with the team and could pitch soon after being activated, with his IL stint ending as early as Thursday.

National League Quick Hits: Nationals manager Dave Martinez has confirmed that Max Scherzer (hamstring) will start Tuesday against the Mets. Scherzer was lifted from his start last Wednesday against the Mets after feeling discomfort in his hamstring in the very first inning, but the veteran right-hander won't wind up missing a turn in the Nats' starting rotation. He currently holds a 3.29 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, and 22/8 K/BB ratio through 13 2/3 innings (three starts) this year ... Stephen Strasburg said after Sunday's start that his hand still isn't at 100 percent. Strasburg's start to the season was delayed due to a nerve discomfort in his pitching hand. He doesn't think he's doing any long-term harm to himself, but rest and rehab didn't help his wrist and thumb and he's having trouble "being able to throw the baseball and being able to commit to pitches." We're going out on a limb here, but that sounds pretty important for a pitcher. The situation warrants watching moving forward ... Diamondbacks placed LHP Madison Bumgarner on the 10-day injured list with a mid-back strain. The injury might help explain Bumgarner's diminished velocity and discouraging results. He hits the IL having registered a 9.35 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, and 13/7 K/BB ratio through 17 1/3 innings this season with the Diamondbacks, who signed him to a five-year, $85 million free agent contract over the winter. D-backs GM Mike Hazen told reporters Monday that he's hopeful the veteran left-hander will only have to miss a couple of rotation turns ... Corey Seager (back) remained out of the Dodgers' starting lineup on Monday. Seager has been on the shelf since experiencing discomfort in his lower back during Friday night's game against the Giants ... Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Monday that the team is preparing Spencer Howard and Vincent Velasquez to both start on Friday against the Mets. In other words, we're likely looking at some sort of piggyback system, at least for now. Howard allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his MLB debut during the second game on Sunday's doubleheader against the Braves. Velasquez tossed four innings of one-run ball in the first game ... Brewers activated INF Luis Urias from the 10-day injured list. Urias tested positive for COVID-19 prior to intake testing at the start of summer camp and has been working his way back. He'll presumably get a shot to unseat Orlando Arcia as the starting shortstop, which was the original expectation following the trade from the Padres ... Garrett Richards' next start has been pushed back a day to Tuesday. Luis Perdomo will make the start against the Dodgers on Monday instead, though it will almost certainly be a bullpen game. No word on the reason for the change, but Richards is getting extra rest at the very least. He's now lined up to oppose Ross Stripling on Tuesday ... Braves optioned LHP Sean Newcomb to their alternate training site. The news comes after Newcomb got hammered for eight earned runs over just 1 1/3 innings in a brutal outing Monday night against the Phillies. He has an 11.20 ERA in 13 2/3 total innings (four starts) this season. The 27-year-old left-hander seems certain to get another shot at some point this summer, but the Braves will apparently try something different in his rotation spot. They're already down Mike Soroka (heel) and Cole Hamels (triceps), and Mike Foltynewicz got pushed off the 40-man roster in the opening week ... Dodgers placed RHP Joe Kelly on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation. Kelly's appeal for his eight-game suspension will be heard on Monday, so he's going to miss even more time after he's recovered from the injury. The 32-year-old hasn't allowed a run in 6 1/3 innings this season, though he has walked five batters and allowed five hits in that time ... Thursday's scheduled doubleheader between the Cardinals and Tigers has been postponed. "MLB and the [Cardinals] believe it is prudent to continue additional testing while players and staff are quarantined before the team returns to play," reads the press release sent out Monday. St. Louis hasn't taken the field since July 29 because of a COVID-19 outbreak on the roster and among the staff, and the best-case scenario for the team's return could be this Saturday against the White Sox. That game has been moved from an afternoon start to an evening start, presumably to allow extra time for the processing of test results.

American League Quick Hits: White Sox manager Rick Renteria said he is "hopeful" that Jose Abreu's left hip issue is minor. Abreu was removed from Monday night's loss to the Tigers after planting awkwardly on first base following a groundout in the eighth inning. He had a stinging sensation down his left leg but Renteria said it quickly subsided. The veteran slugger will be reevaluated by the White Sox medical staff on Tuesday. ... George Springer (wrist) remained out of the Astros' starting lineup on Monday. Springer has been sidelined since suffering a minor right wrist strain last Thursday against the Diamondbacks. He remains day-to-day ... C.J. Cron (knee) departed Monday night's game against the White Sox due to a left knee injury. Cron took a hard-hit ball off his left leg while playing first base in the top of the fourth inning. He walked off the field under his own power but was hobbling. Dawel Lugo hit for him in the bottom of the fourth. Word from the Tigers is that Cron is "undergoing further evaluation," and there might not be an update until Tuesday ... Rafael Devers was out of the Red Sox lineup Monday because of a sore ankle. Devers tweaked his ankle a bit after lunging for first base on Sunday afternoon against the Blue Jays, but it's not believed to be a serious issue ... Edwin Encarnacion (shoulder) remained sidelined Monday. Encarnacion hasn't played since exiting Tuesday's game with SC joint inflammation in his left shoulder, but the White Sox have resisted making a roster move ... Andrelton Simmons (ankle) has resumed baseball activities, per Angels manager Joe Maddon. Maddon added that the 30-year-old shortstop is "nearing a return" but refrained from laying out an exact timetable. Simmons was placed on the injured list back on July 28 after suffering a left ankle sprain while trying to leg out an infield single in a game against the Athletics. He could be around a week away from activation ... Andy Martino of SNY reports that the Yankees are expected to call up Clint Frazier. The move will happen in advance of Tuesday's game against the Braves. Frazier will essentially replace the injured Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) on the roster, though Mike Tauchman could be the biggest beneficiary from a fantasy perspective ... Jordan Montgomery will start Tuesday against the Braves. This sets up Masahiro Tanaka to start on Wednesday. The starters for the Atlanta series were previously listed as TBA. Montgomery was tagged for five runs over four innings against the Phillies in his most recent start ... Rangers signed INF/OF Derek Dietrich to a minor league contract. Dietrich was just released by the Cubs over the weekend in order to pursue an opportunity elsewhere. The 31-year-old hit just .187 last year, but he still managed a .790 OPS due to his power and on-base ability. He's useful depth to have around.