Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Pederson, Guerrero, Acuña, Alonso advance to second round of Home Run Derby

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The second round of the 2019 Home Run Derby has been set at Progressive Field. Joc Pederson defeated Alex Bregman 21-16, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. defeated Matt Chapman 29-13, Ronald Acuña Jr. defeated Josh Bell 25-18, and Pete Alonso edged Carlos Santana 14-13. Guerrero will now face off against Pederson while Acuña will match up with Alonso in the second round.

Pederson kicked things off, mashing 21 taters ahead of Bregman. No one hit 20 homers in the first round of last year’s Derby, so it looked like it might stand as the largest first-round total. Pederson’s longest homer went 452 while averaging 413 overall. Bregman, participating in back-to-back Derbies, managed only 16, one more than last year. His longest homer went 417 feet and averaged only 388 feet.

Guerrero had the most impressive showing, blasting a new Home Run Derby single round record 29 homers. He maxed out at 476 feet while averaging 421.5 feet on his homers. Chapman’s 13 homers only looked small by comparison as it’s normally a respectable total. Chapman hit one 477 feet and averaged 432 feet.

Acuña was no slouch himself, knocking out 25 long balls ahead of Bell, claiming sole possession of the third-most homers hit in a single round. His longest homer went 469 feet while averaging 428 feet. Bell got off to a slow start and never really got on a roll, but still managed 18 which also only seemed small by comparison. Bell’s longest homer went 459 feet while averaging 416 feet.

Alonso edged Santana in what was by far the most disappointing of the four match-ups in the first round. Santana, the hometown hero, couldn’t get any momentum, finishing with 13. It looked like a cakewalk for Alonso, but he could also not find a streak. His final swing of the first round went over the fence. As a result of having hit at least two homers 440-plus feet, he unlocked 30 seconds of bonus time, so he would’ve beaten Santana anyway, but he didn’t need to.

Indians send down Clevinger, Plesac after virus blunder

Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
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CLEVELAND — After hearing Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac explain their actions, the Cleveland Indians sent the pitchers to their alternate training site on Friday after the two broke team rules and Major League Baseball coronavirus protocol last weekend in Chicago.

Clevinger and Plesac drove to Detroit separately with their baseball equipment on Thursday for an “open forum” meeting at the team’s hotel before the Indians opened a series with the Tigers.

Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti said following “the discussion” that he met with manager Terry Francona, general manager Mike Chernoff and decided it was best to option Plesac and Clevinger to the alternate training site instead of allowing them to rejoin the team.

“We had a chance to meet as small group and decided this would be the best path of action for us,” Antonetti said.

So before the opener, the Indians activated Clevinger and Plesac from the restricted list and optioned them to Lake County.

It’s a stunning slide for the right-handers and close friends, both considered important pieces for the Indians. There’s no indication when they may be back on Cleveland’s roster. They’ll have to be at Lake County for at least 10 days.

Last weekend, the pitchers broke the team’s code of conduct implemented during the pandemic by leaving the team hotel and having dinner and socializing with friends of Plesac’s and risking contracting the virus.

While the Indians got a car service to take Plesac back to Cleveland, Clevinger flew home with the team after not telling the Indians he had been out with his teammate.

Although both players have twice tested negative for COVID-19 this week, the Indians aren’t ready to have them back.

Earlier this week, pitcher Adam Plutko said he felt betrayed.

“They hurt us bad,” Plutko said after Cleveland’s lost 7-1 to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday. “They lied to us. They sat here in front of you guys and publicly said things that they didn’t follow through on.”

Antonetti was asked if there are still hard feeling in the clubhouse toward the pair.

“We’re all a family,” Antonetti said. “We spend a lot of time together. Sometimes there are challenges in families you have to work through. I’d use that analogy as it applies here. There are things that have happened over the course of the last week that have been less than ideal and people have some thoughts and feelings about that.”

Both Clevinger and Plesac issued apologies in the days after their missteps. However, on Thursday, the 25-year-old Plesac posted a six-minute video on Instagram in which he acknowledged breaking team curfew but then aimed blame at the media, saying he and Clevinger were being inaccurately portrayed as “bad people.”

Antonetti said he watched the video.

“I’m not sure Zach was able to convey what he intended to convey in the video after having a chance to speak with him afterwards,” he said. “I think if he had a do-over, he may have said things a bit differently.”

Francona also felt Plesac could have chosen a better way to handle the aftermath.

“I was disappointed,” he said.