CLEVELAND -- It’s not set in stone, but all signs are pointing toward Shane Bieber closing in on starting his rehab assignment.
The Indians ace logged a successful second simulated game on Thursday afternoon at Triple-A Columbus, throwing two innings without any problems.
“The volume increased, but also his intensity increased,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said. “That’s good. I think the step we decide here, whether it be a sim game or a rehab game, but from all accounts, everything went well.”
Cleveland wants to give Bieber time to bounce back from his work and have a meeting with a handful of voices to be sure that he’s ready for the next step in the process, which would be a rehab assignment.
“It’s important for him to have some input as well, how he feels,” Hale said, “how he came out of it, kind of sit down and talk about what’s the next step. What’s the volume? What’s the pitch count? How much you want to increase? So, it’s a number of people with some thoughts, but it’s also important for him to share where he is and how he feels.”
But Hale has talked about how well he thought the progression of two simulated games leading into a rehab start worked for Aaron Civale, who just returned to the big league rotation this week. Because Bieber hasn’t experienced any setbacks in his work against players in the Indians' organization, it seems as though the club is leaning toward him skipping a third simulated game and finally getting back to facing other opponents at the Minor League level.
“I think as a player you’ve got to have a little bit of patience,” Hale said, “because you can start looking at the calendar and it’s kind of coming down real quick. But we still want him to pitch at some point during this last month in the Major Leagues. We just want to do it right.”
There’s been speculation as to whether it’s worth it for Bieber to return for the very end of the 2021 regular season to get just a few innings under his belt before the offseason. That risk of aggravating the right shoulder strain will be there, but Bieber has specified countless times that it’ll be beneficial for him to get the feel of a big league rubber once again before heading into the offseason.
And when Hale was asked if he, too, thought it was important to get Bieber back, he didn’t hesitate, responding, “No question.”
MLB remembers 9/11
Major League Baseball will partake in the 20th remembrance of the 9/11 attacks by providing caps with a side patch of a ribbon reading, “We Shall Not Forget.” MLB has encouraged teams to hold a moment of silence before play on Saturday, while the ribbon will be displayed throughout ballparks, and on special lineup cards and base jewels throughout the leagues.
MLB Network will also be airing its new documentary "Remembering the Game for New York" at 1 p.m. ET and again at 5:30 p.m.