Shaw thrilled to be back in Cleveland 'pen

March 26th, 2022

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Bryan Shaw is officially back.

On Friday, the Guardians announced the signing of the veteran reliever to a one-year deal for the second consecutive season. The franchise leader in career relief appearances with 459, Shaw enters his seventh season with the organization.

“We got a couple of offers from other teams, but once we got the offer from the Guardians, we ran with it, put the others on the back-burner and tried to get this one hammered out,” Shaw said. “Getting the deal done here is what we wanted and where we wanted to be.”

Shaw, originally acquired by Cleveland via a three-team trade from the D-backs in 2012, pitched with the organization through 2017. He spent two seasons with the Rockies (2018-19) and the Mariners in 2020.

“It got to the point where Tito [manager Terry Francona] called and asked, ‘Why haven’t you signed yet?’ and I said, ‘Because you guys haven’t called yet,’” Shaw said. “I was excited to come back to this team, you know. We could have been a lot better last year minus the injuries we had, so if we can continue where we should have been last year and keep going.”

Shaw appeared in a Major League-leading 81 games last season, the most in club history, surpassing his previous club record of 80 appearances in 2014. He has led the American League in games pitched four times while with Cleveland and is fifth among MLB active players in holds with 174.

But as good as Shaw is on the field, he might be even better in the clubhouse and in the dugout. He’s a leader, a mentor and sometimes, even a coach. A veteran presence is a crucial component on most teams, but especially with a team as young as the Guardians.

“A teammate’s words and a teammate’s advice, and sometimes direction, carries so much more weight than a coach,” Guardians pitching coach Carl Willis said. “It’s invaluable having veteran guys who are good guys and want what is best for the team to be able to help the younger kids.”

Shaw has been there. He knows what success feels like and he knows how to overcome challenges. Sometimes, he approaches members of the pitching staff with advice and sometimes, they seek him out. Originally drafted by the D-backs in 2008, Shaw was aided early in his career by veteran Arizona pitchers like J.J. Putz, Aaron Heilman and Takashi Saito, so he understands the value of mentorship.

“To sit there and watch those guys and be able to see what they do day in and day out, how they do things, what they do in different scenarios, and different situations really did help me get to where I am at today,” Shaw said. “And maybe get a little bit better earlier in my career because I was able to watch those guys at a younger age.”

Shaw said he expects to throw Saturday and needs five spring appearances to be ready for the regular season. He had been working out at home and the Major League Baseball Players Association training camp in Arizona during the lockout.

“I’m pretty much ready to go,” he said.

In other contract news, the Guardians agreed to 2022 Major League contracts with all 32 pre-arbitration-eligible players. There were no renewals. The club placed right-handed pitcher Cody Morris on the 60-day injured list to make room for Shaw on the 40-man roster.

Civale makes spring debut
Aaron Civale’s Cactus League debut was one to build on.

The right-hander allowed two runs on three hits in the 10-2 win against the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday. He walked one batter and struck out one. His lone blemish was a two-run home run to designated hitter Mike Yastrzemski in the third inning.

“He gave up that two-run homer on his 42nd pitch,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought he threw the ball really well. I thought the ball came out of his hand good. It was crisp. He threw his breaking ball. I thought it was really encouraging.”

A year ago, Civale showed up to camp with a new delivery, and it led to immediate results. He would go on to sport a 10-2 record with a 3.32 ERA in 97 2/3 innings before being sidelined for more than two months because of a strained middle finger. What he’s focused on now is being more efficient with his delivery.

What he’s not thinking about is what went wrong in 2021.

“I can play the ‘what if’ game all day, but that's not going to change anything that happened,” he said. “All I can do is move forward and continue each day as its own day and try to make the most of that.”

Injury update
Catcher Luke Maile, who left Thursday’s game with left hamstring tightness, had an MRI exam on Friday. The club will announce the results on Saturday.

As the club’s only offseason signing and Cleveland’s primary backup catcher, an extended absence by Maile could complicate the team’s roster plans. If necessary, the team would have to clear space on the 40-man roster to add Sandy Leon. The Guardians added 11 prospects to the 40-man roster in November to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft.

Josh Naylor, who fractured his lower leg and tore ligaments after a collision with Ernie Clement last June, played four innings in right field and had four at-bats in a Triple-A game at the club’s Spring Training complex on Thursday. He hit the ball hard and finished 1-for-4. Naylor is scheduled to play four innings in another Minor League game on Saturday.