Bieber to pitch sim game; Hale & Big Papi

September 4th, 2021

BOSTON -- There’s good news on the horizon for Cleveland’s rotation. On Friday, acting manager DeMarlo Hale said that Aaron Civale’s next start would likely come in the big leagues. The club confirmed on Saturday that Civale would be activated from the injured list and is scheduled to start on Tuesday vs. Minnesota.

Hale also announced that will throw a simulated game on Saturday in Cleveland. Bieber has been sidelined since June 14, when he was placed on the 10-day injured list with a right shoulder strain. The right-hander was transferred to the 60-day IL on July 25. Bieber showed signs of hope in his latest bullpen on Aug. 31, when he was able to increase his pitch count and mix in more of his pitches. Saturday’s simulated game marks a big step for the right-hander as the club remains hopeful that he will return this season.

“He’s progressing, he’s increasing -- I don’t have the number, but he is starting to increase,” Hale said. “There’s a sim game if I’m not mistaken [the] next time that he’s throwing, so there’s going to be hitters. So, the competition is starting to kind of progress. Like I said a couple of days ago, you go from a sim game and see how he comes out of that. Then hopefully there’s a rehab start soon after that. I can’t put a timetable, because there might be another sim game after this first one.”

With Cleveland sitting 8 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot, it’s fair to assume the club’s season could likely be over after its last series at Texas from Oct. 1-3. With just 30 games to play in the regular season, the returns of Civale and Bieber might not represent a last-minute postseason run, but nevertheless are meaningful for the club.

“I think it’s in the visuals and their work ethics and the competitors that they are,” Hale said of Bieber and Civale. “They’re going to do what it takes to get back, if it’s for a month [or] if it’s beyond. But I think it’s important for them to leave this season, whenever it’s over, knowing that they’re healthy, and going into the offseason doing their offseason work in preparation for the next year. So it’s not surprising to me that they’re working their way back to pitch this month, you know, however long it is.”

Hale reconnects with and old friend
Ahead of Saturday’s game vs. the Red Sox, Hale caught up with a familiar face on the field at Fenway Park: David Ortiz. Hale, who played in Boston’s Minor League system from 1983-86 and was a coach with the big league club form 2006-11, said he hadn’t talked to Big Papi in some time.

“Just general,” Hale said with a laugh when asked what the two were catching up on. “We hadn’t seen each other. He asked about Tito, kind of touched on him a little bit. And then really kind of talked about, you know, my situation and had some good complimentary things to say and wishing us well, you know. I hadn’t seen him in a few years, with the situation of the world we’re in, so it’s just good to see him and catch up.”

Ortiz was, of course, with the Red Sox for all eight seasons of Terry Francona’s managerial career in Boston (2004-11).

“He wanted me to make sure I passed along his hello’s and his love to [Tito],” Hale said. “We were joking about some other things. ... He’s doing good and it’s good to see him.”