Cleveland Indians ace Shane Bieber, who pitched UCSB to the College World Series in 2016, has tested positive for COVID-19, delaying his arrival at training camp.
Chris Antonetti, the Indians’ president of baseball operations, said Thursday that Bieber has dealt with only “very, very mild symptoms” and is working through the MLB-mandated protocols.
“In fact, they were barely noticeable,” he 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.”
Per MLB protocols, Bieber has to isolate for at least 10 days from the time he tested positive. He’s being monitored by the team’s training staff and then will have to be medically cleared before he’s allowed to integrate with the team.
The team’s pitchers and catchers reported earlier this week, and the Indians will have their first full-squad workout on Sunday.
Antonetti said Bieber, 25, had been working out at the team’s complex this winter.
He won the American League Cy Young Award last season after leading the league in wins (8-1 record), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) in 12 starts. Bieber, who finished fourth in the A.L.’s MVP voting, has gone 34-14 over the past three seasons.
The Indians are counting on him to lead their strong starting staff and keep the club competitive following the trade of All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor and right-hander Carlos Carrasco.
— Mark Patton