Terry Francona

Cleveland Indians Manager Terry Francona was not aware of issues regarding Mickey Callaway. “Nobody’s ever deliberately covered up for anybody, I can tell you that,” Francona said. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Responding to claims the team protected Mickey Callaway, Indians Manager Terry Francona said no one in the Cleveland organization “covered up” for the former pitching coach who’s under investigation by Major League Baseball following allegations of sexual harassment.

Callaway is currently suspended as the Los Angeles Angels pitching coach, pending the MLB inquiry.

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Mickey Callaway is under investigation for sexual harassment and in an article by The Athletic on Tuesday, 12 current and former Indians employees have come forward in the last month to say the Indians were aware of Callaway’s inappropriate behavior while he was their pitching coach from 2013-17. Tami Chappell/Associated Press

The Athletic reported Tuesday that 12 current and former Indians employees came forward in the last month to say Callaway’s actions were so obvious inside the team that “it would have been difficult for top officials to not be aware of his behavior.”

Callaway’s alleged lewd behavior while he was with the Indians from 2013-17 included sending inappropriate photos, requesting nude photos in return and making women “feel uncomfortable.”

“Nobody’s ever deliberately covered up for anybody, I can tell you that,” Francona said on a Zoom call from the team’s spring training complex in Goodyear, Arizona.

The Indians followed with a statement a few hours later.

“Our organization continues to actively cooperate with MLB on their investigation into Mickey Callaway,” it said. “It is important we honor the confidentiality and integrity of that investigation. While we don’t believe the reporting to date reflects who we are as an organization, we will not comment further on the specifics of this matter.”

“We remain committed to creating an inclusive work environment where everyone, regardless of gender, can feel safe and comfortable at all times. We will let our actions – not just our words – reflect our commitment.”

Shortly before Francona spoke to the media, his son, Nick, posted on Twitter that he had read the new story on Callaway and confronted his father. The younger Francona said the Indians “are clearly in the wrong.”

“Their behavior is unacceptable, and even worse, it’s hard to have faith in them to improve and learn when they seem more concerned about covering up wrongdoings that addressing them honestly,” Nick Francona wrote.

The 61-year-old Francona, who managed only 14 games last season because of health issues, said his son’s comments were painful.

“I love all my children unconditionally,” he said. “As you can imagine, that’s a very difficult thing to see. So to deal with it publicly is hurtful.”

According to The Athletic report, some of the employees found it difficult to believe the Indians were caught off-guard by the Callaway accusations.

“I laughed out loud when I saw the quote (in the original report) that said it was the worst-kept secret in baseball, because it was,” one unidentified former employee told The Athletic. “It was the worst-kept secret in the organization.”

Earlier, Francona, who is in his ninth season with Cleveland, was asked if he was troubled by the report.

“I have never worked in a place where I have more respect for people than here,” he said. “And I’ve been very fortunate to work for some wonderful people. I believe that in my heart. I don’t think today is the day to go into details, things like that.”

“I do hope there is a day, because I think it would be good, and I think it’s necessary,” he said.

Last month, Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said he wasn’t aware of Callaway’s behavior until he read about it in a story by the Athletic, which detailed Callaway’s pursuit of women over a five-year period with three teams.

Callaway was Cleveland’s pitching coach from 2013-17 before he was hired to manage the New York Mets.

Angels Manager Joe Maddon declined to comment Tuesday on the latest report, citing the team’s ongoing investigation.

“I just can’t,” Maddon said. “There’s nothing for me to comment, add or subtract, whatever. We’ll just let this play itself out. We’ll find out where it lands, and then we’ll take it from there, but for right now, I can’t say anything.”

Callaway pitched for the Angels in 2002 and 2003 while Maddon was the team’s bench coach. Callaway was Maddon’s first major hire when he took over in Los Angeles in 2019.

California labor law typically requires a full investigation of such allegations before an employee can be fired for cause if the employee denies wrongdoing. The Angels already promoted bullpen coach Matt Wise to serve as interim pitching coach last month.

When he spoke on Feb. 4, Antonetti said he was “distraught” and “disturbed” by the allegations against Callaway. Antonetti expressed regret that none of the accusers felt they could come forward and that the team was committed to making its workplace safe.

Antonetti added that he was not aware if the Mets had reached out to the Indians before they hired Callaway in 2017.

On Monday, Mets President Sandy Alderson acknowledged the team was perhaps short-sighted in its hiring process and probably should have done a better job of vetting Callaway.

NATIONALS: The District of Columbia has denied for now the Washington Nationals’ request to host fans at a limited capacity in Nationals Park when the season begins in April, doing so in a letter Tuesday while promising to revisit the question in about two weeks. That means the final answer on in-person attendance is pending.

The team submitted a proposal Feb. 12 to have fans at Nationals Park starting next month. The proposal was in line with what other MLB teams have had approved by local or state officials, according to a person with knowledge of the process who was not authorized to speak publicly about it. The proposal, that person said, asks to have the maximum number of fans who could sit in small pods that would be spaced six feet apart in all directions.

D.C. can next choose to grant the Nationals’ desired capacity; allow fewer fans than the club requested; or not allow any fans for the time being, pushing the discussion to a later date. The city’s letter did give the Nationals approval to use their stadium for games, starting with Opening Day against the New York Mets on April 1.

CUBS: Chicago finalized an $800,000, one-year deal with reliever Ryan Tepera, a deal that allows him to earn up to $1.75 million, and opened a roster spot by designating right-hander Duane Underwood Jr. for assignment.

Tepera can earn $800,000 in performance bonuses for games pitched: $50,000 each for 30 and 35, $100,000 apiece for 40 and 45, $150,000 each for 50 and 55, and $200,000 for 60. He also can earn $150,000 in roster bonuses for days on the active roster: $50,000 each for 90, 120 and 150.

The 33-year-old also played for Chicago last season, going 0-1 with a 3.92 ERA in 21 games. The right-hander limited lefty batters to a .188 average (6 for 32). Tepera made $323,383 in prorated base pay and $211,212 in earned bonuses for $534,595 in total pay.

DIAMONDBACKS: Starting right fielder Kole Calhoun will have surgery Wednesday on his right knee because of a medial meniscus tear.

Manager Torey Lovullo said he wasn’t sure whether the injury would cause Calhoun to miss Opening Day on April 1. The manager said the injury occurred during during offseason training and nagging pain led Calhoun to have an MRI.


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