After a breakout campaign in 2020 in which he posted a 2.28 ERA, Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Zach Plesac is off to a bit of a slow start in 2021. Plesac’s ERA sits at 4.14, a respectable but unspectacular mark, through his first 10 starts and the 26-year-old allowed five runs (three earned) in only 3.2 innings in a loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. However, Plesac’s performance isn’t the biggest story surrounding the Indians this week, as the focus is now on an injury he suffered and the manner in which it occurred.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona indicated on Tuesday that Plesac will be placed on the injured list with what the team is calling a non-displaced fracture in his right (pitching) thumb. That isn’t an incredibly odd injury, but Francona elaborated on just how it happened, and that is the strange part.
“He was, I think, probably rather aggressively ripping off his shirt,” Francona told reporters, via MLB.com. “He called [athletic trainer] James Quinlan, and James called me. It was pretty swollen yesterday. … As you can imagine, our wheels started to turn.”
Yes, a professional pitcher seemingly suffered a real injury while removing his shirt “rather aggressively” after a start.
It wasn’t immediately clear that Plesac would have a significant ailment, but he was still swollen on Monday and an X-ray occurred from there. From there, the Indians indicate that Plesac will see a hand specialist to determine the next steps, but considering the crucial nature of a throwing hand for a pitcher, this could be a rather precarious injury. Outside observers certainly wish Plesac the best in his recovery, but this can also safely be added to the list of bizarre injuries in recent sports history.