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MLB notebook: Guardians place two starting pitchers on IL

Zach Plesac, who was due to start for the Guardians on Friday, has been placed on injured reserve with a broken hand. John Froschauer/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Trying to hold on to their slim lead in the AL Central, the Cleveland Guardians lost two starting pitchers to injury on Friday.

Zach Plesac (broken hand) and Aaron Civale (inflamed forearm) were placed on the 15-day injured list before Cleveland, who lead Minnesota by just one game, opened a series of three games against the Seattle Mariners.

It’s hardly ideal for a young team in the midst of a flag race.

Plesac was supposed to start Friday’s opener, but the right-hander was pulled about four hours before the scheduled first pitch. Rookie Cody Morris will make his major league debut against the Mariners.

Guardians manager Terry Francona says Plesac, who has been plagued by a lack of running support this season, fractured his fifth metacarpal when he hit the ground in frustration after giving up a home run against the Mariners last weekend.

Plesac’s palm had been swollen for a few days, and when the team performed imaging tests on him, the fracture was revealed.

Francona said the “best case scenario” is that Plesac is placed in a splint and only misses a week. The Guardians plan to have him examined soon by renowned hand specialist Dr. Thomas Graham.

Plesac is just 3-11 with a 4.39 ERA in 23 starts.

TIGERS: Outfielder Austin Meadows has revealed he has suffered from mental health issues as well as physical ailments and will not be playing again this season.

“This season has been an unfortunate struggle with a series of injuries and illnesses, from dealing with vertigo at the start, then COVID, then bilateral tendonitis in my Achilles, and then having to go through the rehabilitation process at every time,” he posted on social media. “What I’ve told very few people is that I’ve also had mental health issues in a way that has extended my time away from the game that I love so much.”

Detroit manager AJ Hinch has been aware of Meadows’ mental health issues for several weeks. Meadows broached the subject with his teammates on Friday.

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with Austin over the past two weeks,” Hinch said. “We will offer him all possible support, and we have been.”

Meadows has played in 36 games this season, batting .250 without a homer and 11 RBIs. He was acquired from Tampa Bay in a trade late in spring training to provide an offensive boost to the Tigers’ roster. Meadows had 27 homers and 106 RBIs last season for the Rays.

“He’s going to continue to be around the team when we’re home and continue to work with people behind the scenes,” Hinch said. “He is on a great path. He was surrounded by a lot of great people. He has a ton of support and his statement speaks for itself.

Meadows added in his statement that he hopes his decision to go public will encourage others struggling with mental health issues “to ask someone for help.”

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