Cleveland’s Zach Plesac suffers freak thumb harm after ‘aggressively ripping off his shirt’

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Cleveland announced (via Mandy Bell from MLB.com) on Tuesday that No. 2 starter Zach Plesac suffered an undisplaced fracture in his right thumb. On Wednesday, the organization announced that Plesac will avoid surgery but will still miss a significant portion of the time. According to Bell Plesac will not start a litter program for at least three weeks. In other words, he is certain that he will be on the road for at least a month and probably longer.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona said Bell that the break after Plesac’s rough excursion on Sunday against the Twins. He allowed five runs (three earned) with five hits and gave a walk and a strikeout over 3 2/3 innings. Francona said Plesac “tore his shirt off quite aggressively” and hit his thumb hard on a chair from his locker in the clubhouse. That is incredibly unfortunate.

The 26-year-old Plesac ignored the decision on Sunday, so he extended his unbeaten streak to at least six games and won 3-0 with 2.93 ERA during that time. In 58 2/3 innings over 10 starts, Plesac has achieved a 4.14 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 12 walks in 2021. In six of his ten starts, he has allowed three or fewer runs. Plesac has also recorded a career height of 52.7 percent base ball rate, as well as a strike rate of 16.2 percent and a gait rate of 5.1 percent.

Cleveland has a strong one-two with 2020 winner AL Cy Young Shane Bieber and right-handed Aaron Civale, but the depth beyond this duo is very shallow in Plesac’s absence. This is what the rotation looks like at the moment:

  1. RHP Shane Bieber
  2. RHP Aaron Civale
  3. LHP Sam Hentges
  4. RHP Triston McKenzie (currently in the minors)
  5. ?

Hentges and McKenzie are likely, but both remain big question marks. Hentges only made three starts this year, and none of them have lasted more than five innings. In his May 17th start against the Angelhe gave up six earned runs in 1 2/3 innings. McKenzie, 23, was voted Triple-A Columbus on May 22 after five of his eight MLB Starts resulted in three well-deserved runs. McKenzie has yet to sort out his control issues (30 walks in 31 1/3 IP) before he can become a permanent fixture on the Cleveland rotation. Right handed Cal Quantrill might be another option but he hasn’t started a game since last season.

On Wednesday, Cleveland (26-20) is in second place in the American League Central, one and a half games behind first place Chicago White Sox. Cleveland will continue its four-game streak against the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday in Comerica Park. They will then host them Blue Jays for a three-game series this weekend.