Sox pitcher Clevinger on MLB investigation: This was 'a devastating situation'

Two days after being cleared by Major League Baseball after accusations of domestic violence and child abuse, White Sox starting pitcher Mike Clevinger met with reporters Tuesday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz.

Before moving forward, Clevinger looked back on an MLB investigation that began last summer when he was pitching for the Padres.

"This was a bad situation, a devastating situation," Clevinger said. "I'm just trying to move forward. I want to focus on baseball now. I want to focus on helping this club win. Looking forward to helping my family heal from this."

In January, Olivia Finestead, the mother of Clevinger's infant daughter, posted on Instagram that he strangled and choked her and threw used chewing tobacco on their child. Clevinger denied the charges, and MLB announced on Sunday he will not face suspension or any other discipline this season.

"The comprehensive investigation included interviews of more than 15 individuals, in addition to Mr. Clevinger and the complainant, as well as a review of available documents, such as thousands of electronic communication records," MLB said in a statement. "The office of the commissioner has closed this investigation and barring the receipt of any new information or evidence, the office of the commissioner will not be imposing discipline on Mr. Clevinger in connection with these allegations.

"As part of his path forward, Mr. Clevinger has voluntarily agreed to submit to evaluations by the joint treatment boards under the collectively bargained policies and to comply with any of the boards' recommendations."

Clevinger told reporters he was informed of MLB's decision last week.

"I'm just thankful for the due process playing out the way it is and the truth getting out there," he said. "I was an open book to them. I was like, 'Anything you want to do,' I let them clone my phone a couple of times. 'I'll do any evaluation boards you want. I'll do it all.'"

There is no doubt the whole affair has been a distraction in the White Sox's training camp.

After making his first Cactus League start Sunday, Lucas Giolito was asked about Clevinger being cleared to pitch for the Sox this season.

"It's good news for our club because he'll be in our rotation and be able to help us win games," Giolito said. "Now we go from there. I don't see it (as a distraction). We handle our business and take care of what we need to and block out side noise. That's part of being a player."

Later Sunday, Giolito contacted the Chicago Sun-Times and clarified the comment.

"I never, ever intend on downplaying the severity of domestic violence or domestic-abuse situations," Giolito said. "I obviously answered the (Clevinger) question strictly from a baseball clubhouse/competition point of view and it was insensitive the way I answered that."

Clevinger was aware of Giolito's comments.

"I felt bad the other day," Clevinger said. "(Giolito) got done with his start and had to talk about it. I'm ready for them to not have to answer for this. I'm ready to ... just focus on this baseball thing that we're here to do."

Clevinger signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the White Sox in early December. The deal includes a $12 million mutual option for 2024 with a $4 million buyout.

Brought in to fill out the bottom of the Sox's starting rotation, the 32-year-old righty was 7-7 with a 4.33 ERA for San Diego last season.

Clevinger is expected to make his first Cactus League start Saturday against the Padres.

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