The Cleveland Indians are starting spring training without their ace and reigning Cy Young winner Shane Bieber after he contracted COVID-19.
Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti announced the news on Thursday, a day after pitchers and catchers reported to the team's Goodyear, Arizona spring training facility. Antonetti expects Bieber to join the team soon.
Bieber expected to join team 'within the next few days'
“He has very, very mild symptoms,” Antonetti told reporters. “In fact, they were barely noticeable, and — like I said — he’s working through the protocols to return. We expect him to get back to the complex at some point within the next few days.”
Antonetti declined to offer other details of Bieber's diagnosis or when he tested positive. The Indians are scheduled to have their first full-team workout on Sunday.
Bieber, 25, led the American League with a 1.63 ERA, 122 strikeouts and eight wins in 12 starts during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, following up an All-Star campaign in 2019 that saw him finish fourth in Cy Young voting.
The 25-year-old has a career ERA of 3.32 and 34-14 record over three MLB seasons.
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