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Cleveland Indians’ Zach Plesac breaks right thumb, headed for injured list

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 5/26/2021 Paul Hoynes, cleveland.com
a baseball player taking a swing at a pitch: Indians right-hander Zach Plesac has been placed on the injured list with a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb. © John Kuntz, cleveland.com/John Kuntz, cleveland.com Indians right-hander Zach Plesac has been placed on the injured list with a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb.

DETROIT — As if the Indians’ starting rotation didn’t have enough problems, right-hander Zach Plesac is headed for the injured list with a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb.

Manager Terry Francona said Tuesday afternoon that Plesac suffered the injury while “rather aggressively taking off his undershirt” following his early exit from his start Sunday against the Twins at Progressive Field. Francona said Plesac caught his thumb against his chair while taking off his undershirt.

a baseball player holding a bat: Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac watches the three-run homer off the bat of Minnesota Twins Max Kepler in the fourth inning, May 23, 2021, at Progressive Field. © John Kuntz, cleveland.com/John Kuntz, cleveland.com Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac watches the three-run homer off the bat of Minnesota Twins Max Kepler in the fourth inning, May 23, 2021, at Progressive Field.

Plesac opened the game with nine straight outs before allowing five runs in the fourth and being removed. The Indians lost the game, 8-5, in 10 innings.

During Monday’s night’s game in Detroit, Plesac’s thumb was swollen. He received an X-ray and the non-displaced fracture was revealed.

The rotation is already down one starter following the demotion of right-hander Triston McKenzie on Saturday. The Indians are scheduled to use a bullpen game to take McKenzie’s turn in the rotation Wednesday night against the Tigers. Shane Bieber is scheduled to start Thursday in Detroit.

Right now the rotation looks like this: Bieber, Aaron Civale, who will start tonight, and rookie left-hander Sam Hentges. The other two spots are open for interpretation.

Francona said Plesac will be examined by Dr. Thomas Graham in Dayton on Wednesday. Dr. Graham recently performed surgery on Tribe catcher Roberto Perez for a non-displaced fracture of his right ring finger.

“We don’t know anymore than that other than Plesac is on IL (injured list),” said Francona. “We’ll get a lot more information on that Wednesday.”

Plesac will officially be placed on the injured list on Wednesday. The Indians played a man short against the Tigers on Tuesday night.

As for what this does to the immediate pitching plans, Francona said, “We got the X-rays back about the sixth inning Monday so as you can imagine the wheels started to turn. We were already going to have a bullpen game on Wednesday.

“What we’re going to do is we need to figure out Wednesday. We need to figure out Friday (against Toronto) and one of the games in the doubleheader (May 31 against the White Sox). One move can affect another move. We’re working through that as we speak. ... We’re just trying to do one thing at a time.”

The Indians made it deep into May as one of the healthiest clubs in the big leagues, but the injuries are piling up. DH Franmil Reyes was placed on the injured list Sunday and will be out five to seven weeks with a left oblique injury. Now Plesac will join Reyes and Perez on the shelf.

Here are some of the rotation options available to the Indians. Right-hander Jean Carlos Mejia joined them on their West Coast trip. He threw an inning in Monday’s 6-5 win and Francona is leaning toward using him in Wednesday’s bullpen game for some length. He could replace Plesac in the next turn of the rotation.

The Indians could recall McKenzie from Triple-A. He doesn’t have to remain at Columbus for the required 10 days because of Plesac’s injury. Left-handers Scott Moss and Logan Allen and right-hander Eli Morgan are at Columbus as well.

Left-hander Tanner Tully was just promoted to Columbus from Class AA Akron. Juan Hillman, Eli Lingos, Alex Royalty and Shane McCarty have been taking regular turns in Akron’s rotation.

The Indians could also move Cal Quantrill into the rotation. He competed for a rotation spot in spring training, but lost out to McKenzie and Allen. Quantrill has pitched well of late in the pen, allowing one earned run in his last 14 2/3 innings. Rule 5 pick Trevor Stephan, a former starter, is another possibility.

This will be the second straight season Plesac will miss big league starts for non-competitive reasons. Last year he broke curfew during the coronavirus pandemic and was sent to the alternative training site along with departed Mike Clevinger. He missed an estimated four starts because of that.

Right now the Indians believe this was an accident. They do not think Plesac suffered the injury in a fit of anger following Sunday’s start.

In 2013 left-hander Nick Hagadone hit a wall after a bad outing for the Indians and suffered a broken left wrist that needed surgery. The Indians sent him to the minors and put him on the disqualified list. Hagadone and his agent filed a grievance and the matter was finally settled.

Finally: The Indians have signed RHP Kevin Herget from the independent American Association and assigned him to Class AAA Columbus. In other moves, RHP Eric Mock has been promoted from Class A Lynchburg to Class AA Akron and RHP Alex Wisely has been promoted from extended spring training to Akron. Tulley was a 26th-round pick in 2016; Mock was a 25th-round pick in 2019 and Wisely was taken in the 34th round in 2019.

New Indians face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Indians-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All MLB proceeds donated to charity.

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