Mike Clevinger looks solid in return from exile for Indians

Mike Clevinger made his return to the mound Wednesday.

Mike Clevinger went from being a key piece in the Cleveland Indians rotation to a pariah earlier this month. He and fellow pitcher Zach Plesac decided to go out in Chicago, obviously violating numerous rules in place to protect against COVID-19.

Clevinger went a step further and waited to get caught before coming clean. That means he flew home with the team like he had done nothing wrong. This resulted in what was described as an emotional meeting between the two pitchers and the rest of the team.

Clevinger and Plesac were sent to the team’s training site and it appeared that may be for good. But the former showed enough remorse to be allowed back and made his return to the mound Wednesday.

Mike Clevinger returns in a big way

The right-hander went six innings and only allowed two earned runs to help lead the Indians to a much-needed victory over the Minnesota Twins. This was Clevinger’s fourth start all season and his first since August 5.

He spoke after the game and shared how his teammates didn’t shun him, but he still understood the way everyone felt. The situation should not have been hard for a 29-year-old to understand, but alas, he had to learn his lesson.

There were some Indians fans on social media who believed Clevinger was only brought up to pitch in a sort of “showcase” game before the trade deadline. The easy counter to that is he has proved enough since making his debut in 2016. One game won’t change that and it’s not like he was out with an injury.

The Indians know Clevinger is a dominant pitcher and easily second on the staff behind Shane Bieber. The questions had to do with how his teammates received him after his stupid mistake.

Fans do not get a glimpse into the clubhouse, but the first signs were that the team welcomed Clevinger back enough. He is obviously on a zero-tolerance policy, just like the rest of his teammates. It is still possible he gets traded, however, the way he pitched Wednesday shows he is still valuable to the Indians.