GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s not the story that Rick Hahn would have liked to discuss as spring training opens, but he is sticking to the one the franchise has been saying when it comes to Mike Clevinger.
The White Sox general manager reiterated on Wednesday that the team had no knowledge of Major League Baseball’s domestic violence investigation into the pitcher or that the allegations were out there.
This comes as Clevinger reported to spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona with the rest of the team.
“There was no indication of anything close to anything that has been alleged in this guy’s background,” said Hahn when talking to reporters at his news conference before the start of workouts, indicating the only thing the team was aware of was “maturity issues” in the past with the pitcher.
He said that he’s “disappointed” with the situation that came to light in late January when Olivia Finestead, the mother of Clevinger’s child, alleged verbal, physical, and emotional abuse against herself along with their ten-month-old daughter at the hands of the pitcher.
The pitcher’s lawyer, Jay Reisinger, issued a statement in January saying that Clevinger denied the allegations.
So how did the White Sox miss it? Hahn points to the strict privacy nature of the MLB investigation as a reason that it didn’t leak out.
“The confidentiality element to this policy is essential, not only to protect players but also to those who feel aggrieved, to give them the ability to come forward and express that there is an issue and to allow for an investigation to take place,” said Hahn. “Part of that confidentiality is that other clubs don’t know about it, and there was no way for us to be aware of this incident without someone being in violation of that policy, and no one was.”
Clevinger was not silent with the team when it comes to the investigation and addressed the group in the locker room as pitchers and catchers started working out at Camelback Ranch. Hahn said that the pitcher expressed regret for being a distraction as the team begins work ahead of the 2023 season.
It makes for an unusual situation for first year manager Pedro Grifol, who takes over a club looking to rebound after a disappointing 2022 season.
Meanwhile, Clevinger continues preparing for this upcoming campaign, with little the team can do until the commissioner’s office makes the decision on whether or not to discipline.
“At this point, the White Sox options are the same as they have been throughout this process when Mike joined us and that is to respect the process and respect the investigation and let it play out,” said Hahn. “That is the club’s only option.”