Bieber throws off mound, 'no complications'

August 15th, 2021

DETROIT -- Right-hander threw 20 fastballs in the bullpen at Comerica Park on Saturday. It was his first time throwing off a mound since going on the injured list after his last start on June 13.

Bieber had “no complications” and a big smile on his face on Sunday morning, according to a club spokesperson.

He came out of his last start two months ago in Cleveland after allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings against Seattle, and was diagnosed with a right shoulder strain.

Bieber was 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA before being shut down, and threw at least 100 pitches in 12 of his 14 starts. He’s coming off a Cy Young Award-winning 2020 season in which he led the American League in wins (eight), winning percentage (.889), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122).

Bieber was originally placed on the 10-day injured list, but was moved to the 60-day injured list on July 25 to free up a spot on the 40-man roster. He began throwing from a flat surface about a month ago, right after the All-Star break, and is eligible to return as soon as his shoulder is healed.

Having both Bieber and Aaron Civale (10-2, 3.32 ERA), whose last start before he sprained his right middle finger was on June 21, on the injured list led to a slump for Cleveland. The club was 41-30 in its first 71 games before struggling over its last 43 games, going 15-28 in that span.

Willis celebrating with Twins
Indians pitching coach Carl Willis was in Minneapolis on Saturday and Sunday celebrating the 30th anniversary of the World Series championship he won with the Twins.

Willis was 8-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 40 relief appearances in 1991 for Minnesota, and had a 2.92 ERA in seven postseason appearances.

He also was a member of the 1984 World Series champion Tigers as a rookie, but was traded to the Reds on Sept. 1 of that year for left-handed reliever Bill Scherrer.

Coincidentally, Willis’ teammate on both of those championship teams was Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris, who now does television broadcasting for both Detroit and Minnesota.

Assistant pitching coach Ruben Niela, who has been in the Cleveland organization for nearly 21 years, served as the acting pitching coach in Willis’ absence.

The Indians will meet their pitching coach in Minneapolis, where they have Cal Quantrill (3-2, 3.13 ERA) starting on Monday, Eli Morgan (1-5, 6.52 ERA) going on Tuesday, and Zach Plesac (7-4, 4.64 ERA) closing out the series on Wednesday.

Ramírez tops in extra-bases
José Ramírez, who had a double and triple on Saturday night, entered play on Sunday with 316 extra-base hits since the beginning of the 2017 season, which leads all Major Leaguers. Tied for second are Nick Castellanos and Nolan Arenado with 312.

However, Ramírez's home run stats are most predictive of the Indians’ success. They are 26-4 when Ramírez clears the fences, following Sunday's 11-0 win. He also leads the team with 72 RBIs after homering and doubling on Sunday, and has plated 20 runs in his last 19 games.

Other notes

• Shortstop Amed Rosario returned to the starting lineup on Sunday after being given Saturday off by acting manager DeMarlo Hale and contributed a three-run triple to a five-run third inning.

• Center fielder Myles Straw entered play on Sunday hitting .305 with five doubles, one homer, three RBIs, three stolen bases and 11 runs scored since being acquired from the Astros at the July 30 Trade Deadline for reliever Phil Maton and catching prospect Yainer Diaz. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI single on Sunday vs. Detroit.