FEB 18: Indians ace Shane Bieber recently tested positive for COVID-19, president of baseall operations Chris Antonetti told Mandy Bell of MLB.com and other reporters Thursday. Bieber had “very, very mild symptoms,” according to Antonetti, and the Indians are hopeful that the right-hander will join them in camp in the next few days.
There is, of course, no more valuable member of the Indians’ staff than Bieber, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2020 and was likely the premier pitcher in the sport. The 25-year-old turned in an astounding 1.63 ERA/2.52 SIERA with a 41.1 percent strikeout rate, a 7.1 percent walk rate, and a 48.4 percent groundball mark over 77 1/3 innings.
Assuming he does return to health sometime soon, Bieber should take the ball for Cleveland on Opening Day. The club’s rotation has undergone changes this offseason with the trade of Carlos Carrasco to the Mets, but it still looks like a talented group with Aaron Civale, Zach Plesac and Triston McKenzie among those continuing to complement Bieber.