GLENDALE -- Mike Clevinger expressed confidence he'll be exonerated of allegations of domestic violence as he reported to the Chicago White Sox for spring training on Wednesday, joining his new team amid an ongoing investigation by Major League Baseball.
"This is pretty devastating for me and my family," Clevinger said. "I feel terrible for my teammates having to answer questions about this. I trust the process. Just asking everyone to wait before the rush to judgment. Wait until the actual facts are out there. Wait until there is actual evidence and then make your decision on who you think I am."
The 32-year-old right-hander finalized a $12 million, one-year contract with Chicago in December. MLB's probe predates his agreement with the White Sox who, based on collectively bargained policies, were not told he was under investigation before he signed.
In an Instagram post on Jan. 24, Olivia Finestead said she is the mother of Clevinger's child and alleged he fathered two other children who were not hers. She posted a photo of marks on her body with accompanying words that alleged the injuries were "from when he threw an iPad at me pregnant" and "finally left when he strangled me."
"Mike Clevinger," she added, "you really deserve hell I've kept quiet now for almost a year and you continue to covertly abuse your infant." She said Clevinger "threw chew spit on our baby."
On Wednesday, Finestead told 670TheScore in Chicago she has another meeting with MLB on Friday. There's no timetable for the conclusion of the investigation.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said the team's "only option" was to allow Clevinger to come to camp while waiting for MLB to conclude its inquiry.
"It is solely the discretion of the commissioner to discipline a player at the conclusion of an investigation," Hahn said. "[The] confidentiality element of the investigation is essential to the success and strength of the policy and one we'll continue to respect."
The White Sox aren't allowed to release Clevinger during the investigation simply because he's being investigated but can at the conclusion of it, no matter the outcome. The commissioner's office could put Clevinger on a 7-day, paid administrative leave while it continues to investigate but any longer stretch would need to be in coordination with the players association.
"It's not automatic," Manfred said on Wednesday of a decision not to put him on leave. "It's a product of what we know based on the investigation at that point and time."
When asked what he had to specifically say about the accusations, Clevinger said, "Uncomfortable would be a good adjective for it."
"It's really embarrassing," he added. "It's not who I am and now I have to sit here on my first day and answer questions like I am one of those people. It's devastating but ... I'm excited to see when the facts come out."
Clevinger was signed as the lone newcomer to the White Sox rotation after spending the past couple of seasons with the San Diego Padres, where he underwent Tommy John surgery. Previously, he played for Cleveland, where he was punished for breaking Covid protocols in 2020.
"You try to do everything in your power to uncover everything you can and make a decision based on the risk of what you're bringing in," Hahn said. "In terms of finding out about this specific incident, there was no indication of anything close to anything that has been alleged in this guy's background."
Clevinger added: "When I was a younger man, I was little bit immature, for sure. There's been mistakes in my past."
Hahn was asked his reaction when he heard the news of the investigation.
"Disappointment," he said after a pause.
Clevinger indicated he's actually been under investigation for seven months going back to his time as a member of the Padres. San Diego president of baseball operations, A.J. Preller, wouldn't answer if and when the team knew about it.
"Anything involving Clevinger, I can't comment," Preller said. "We've been supportive and cooperative with MLB on any situation involving domestic violence."
In her radio interview on Wednesday, Finestead said she was looking for an apology, her "stuff back" and for Clevinger to enter drug rehab. The pitcher maintains his innocence, explaining why he chose to speak publicly on the subject.
"Elephant in the room," he said. "I wanted to address it. I'm not going to hide away from it. I didn't do anything wrong. ...This is about my children who I care about more than even this game."
The Associated Pres contributed to this report.