Mike Minor
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Mike Minor has the last laugh with Alex Cora

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On September 26 last year, Rangers starter Mike Minor was on the precipice of a career milestone: his 200th strikeout of the season. He entered that afternoon’s start against the Red Sox at 191, and ended up racking up eight through eight innings of work.

In the ninth inning, Minor got the first out on a Sandy León fly out to left field. The next batter, Chris Owings, popped up about halfway down the first base line. First baseman Ronald Guzmán didn’t make much of an effort to make the catch, letting the ball drop in foul territory. With a new lease on strikeout No. 200, Minor threw a change-up high and inside that was generously called strike three. Manager Chris Woodward lifted Minor from the game with milestone in tow. José Leclerc struck out Marco Hernández to end the game.

After the game, Alex Cora — then the manager of the Red Sox — expressed displeasure with how the Rangers handled Minor’s milestone. Cora said, “I’m just happy our guys play the game the right way.”

Cora has since been embroiled in controversy as Major League Baseball has investigated the Astros’ use of technology to steal and relay signs during their 2017 championship season, when Cora was the bench coach. Cora then went on to become the manager of the Red Sox, leading them to a championship in 2018. MLB’s investigation of Cora’s Red Sox is ongoing. Fired by the Red Sox earlier today, Cora is facing what would seem to be a one-year suspension at minimum and very likely multiple years.

Minor gets to have the last laugh with Cora. After today’s news, Minor tweeted:

“Pete” refers to Pete Abraham, the Red Sox beat writer for The Boston Globe. Following last year’s kerfluffle, Abraham tweeted, “Mike Minor’s 200th strikeout should have a big asterisk. That was bush. Chasing a milestone that way is unprofessional.”

So make that two last laughs for Minor.

Source: Indians’ Plesac sent home after protocol misstep

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
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Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was sent back to Cleveland on Sunday in a rental car after violating team rules and Major League Baseball’s coronavirus protocols, a club official told the Associated Press.

The official said the 25-year-old Plesac went out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night following his win against the White Sox. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the team got Plesac a car so he wouldn’t be around teammates in the event he contracted the virus.

It is not known if Plesac has been tested since breaking the team’s code of conduct. He will be isolated from the team and can not take part in team activities until he twice tests negative for COVID-19.

The Athletic first reported Plesac was sent home.

Indians team president Chris Antonetti is expected to address Plesac’s situation following the team’s game in Chicago on Sunday night.

Major League Baseball has been emphasizing the need for players to be more careful and follow its protocols in the wake of coronavirus outbreaks with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. The episode with Plesac, the nephew of former big league reliever Dan Plesac, is the most high-profile evidence of baseball’s increasing concern about its guidelines.

Last month, Plesac, who has become a reliable starter for the Indians, spoke of the importance of players abiding to the “code of conduct” that every team was required to submit to MLB in hopes of the 60-game regular season taking place.

“Definitely any time you can maintain social distancing is going to be what we have to focus on,” Plesac said July 3. “There are common sense situations, where you see things are packed, or going out to the bars and drinking – doing stuff like that isn’t stuff that’s really important to us right now and shouldn’t be important to us right now.

“We’re given this privilege to be able to come back and play and given this short window to even play. It’s a good time now just to really buckle down and focus on what’s important and work toward something greater at the end of the season and for these couple months, lock in and focus on what we have set for us at the end of the year.”

Plesac didn’t allow a run and limited the White Sox to five hits in six innings on Saturday to improve to 1-1.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports