Francona predicts Plesac's fifth pickoff

July 17th, 2019

CLEVELAND -- Zach Plesac approached his manager on Tuesday prior to his first start since July 4, after getting sent down to Triple-A during the All-Star break.

“He was just saying, ‘What do you want to see?‘” Indians skipper Terry Francona said. “I said, ‘Hey, man, I’ll never talk to you about mechanics about pitching.‘ I said, ‘You just compete, but I’ll bet you pick someone off tonight.‘"

He was right.

Plesac recorded his fifth pickoff in nine starts on Tuesday, catching Tigers center fielder Victor Reyes off guard after a leadoff walk in the first.

“It saves me probably, you never know, five to 10 pitches an inning,” Plesac said. “It saves me pitching out of the stretch. So when I can get them, I’ll take them.”

It’s a move that he’s continued to perfect since high school, but the 24-year-old credits Double-A Akron pitching coach Tony Arnold for the way it’s developed over the last few months.

“He really helped me get my feet right moving toward first base and having efficient movements and being as quick as I can,” Plesac said. “So I’ve got to give most of the credit to him.”

Plesac’s uncle, former Major Leaguer Dan Plesac, texted Francona when his nephew got his first call to the big leagues back in May to let him know that the righty had an impressive move.

“[He] said, ‘He’s got the quickest feet I’ve ever seen,’” Francona said. “Well, my uncle said I was a good hitter. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. But he’s got the quickest feet I’ve ever seen. Like you could sit in the dugout and you look and go, ‘This guy is in trouble out there. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s in trouble.’ Then he picks him off.”

Plesac leads the Majors with his five pickoffs in his limited time with the Tribe. He entered one of the most competitive starting rotations, as Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger are known for going head-to-head to outdo one another each time they take the mound, in hopes to take home the “King of the Hill” crown that’s awarded to the best starter of each series.

And while Plesac definitely takes the crown when it comes to the quickest pickoff move, he said he still enjoys strikeouts more than he does pickoffs. But he never tires of hearing his manager compliment the quickness of his feet.

“It means everything to me,” Plesac said. “I still think I can get a little better at it with my timing and things like that, but I’m just going to keep using it.”

Salazar makes second start for Akron
Danny Salazar
extended himself to 58 pitches Tuesday night in Double-A, allowing one run -- a solo homer -- on three hits in three innings. The righty also walked two batters and struck out four.

“By all accounts, OK,” Francona said when asked how Salazar came out of his start. “Didn’t get velocities, but everybody seemed encouraged.”

This date in Indians history
2007: Ryan Garko hit a walk-off RBI-single in the 11th inning to beat the White Sox, 6-5.