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Bieber soaking it all in before MLB debut

Day before start, Indians give prospect chance to get acclimated
MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- To help give Indians pitching prospect Shane Bieber a taste of the Major Leagues, the right-hander was in Cleveland's clubhouse on Wednesday to watch the series finale against the White Sox at Progressive Field.

Bieber, 22, is scheduled to start Thursday's series opener against the Twins at Target Field (8:10 p.m. ET). The start is slated to be Bieber's Major League debut, but the Tribe's fourth-round selection of the 2016 MLB Draft is aware it'll only be a spot start. Trevor Bauer logged 127 pitches on Sunday, so manager Terry Francona wanted to give an extra day for the rest of the rotation.

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CLEVELAND -- To help give Indians pitching prospect Shane Bieber a taste of the Major Leagues, the right-hander was in Cleveland's clubhouse on Wednesday to watch the series finale against the White Sox at Progressive Field.

Bieber, 22, is scheduled to start Thursday's series opener against the Twins at Target Field (8:10 p.m. ET). The start is slated to be Bieber's Major League debut, but the Tribe's fourth-round selection of the 2016 MLB Draft is aware it'll only be a spot start. Trevor Bauer logged 127 pitches on Sunday, so manager Terry Francona wanted to give an extra day for the rest of the rotation.

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"Your first Major League start, you're gonna have all types of emotions and nerves, but it starts to get him acclimated," Francona said. "Being here today, he can take it in, talk to the guys, listen, fly with us. He'll pitch tomorrow night, then he knows he's going to go back."

Bieber was added to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 list on Sunday. Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler graduated from the rankings, allowing Bieber to check in as No. 100. The right-hander is ranked third on the Indians' Top 30 Prospects by MLB Pipeline.

Video: Top Prospects: Shane Bieber, RHP, Indians

In 10 starts this season between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus, Bieber has accumulated a 5-1 record with a 1.10 ERA through 65 1/3 innings. Bieber threw a rain-shortened no-hitter in his last start against Gwinnett on Friday -- striking out seven through seven innings.

"Every time someone talks about him they just rave about his routine, his work ethic, his strike-throwing ability," Francona said of Bieber's stuff. "But he's not the finished product -- his breaking ball is still a work in progress, but he fills in the strike zone, which is a good way to start."

It was a couple days after Bieber got the news he'd be called up, though he knows it's just a chance to get his big toe in the water.

"I got called in to look at some video of pitchers with changeups, just because we weren't really pounding with our changeups," Bieber recalled. "At the end of the meeting, [Columbus manager Chris] Tremie walks over and says, 'They didn't tell you? Oh yeah, you're starting in Minnesota on Thursday.'

"It was kinda cool, them blindsiding me," Bieber said, smirking. "I was surprised, and it's a fun little story to tell. Now that I'm telling the story I realize that all of the clips happened to be against the Twins."

Worth noting
Francisco Lindor was out of the starting lineup against the White Sox on Wednesday, with the hopes of giving the shortstop a day off. Lindor has started all 53 games for the Tribe, slashing .300/.375/.538. Lindor has gone 5-for-9 in this series against the White Sox, but Francona insisted on giving the Silver Slugger Award winner the day off.

"I give the man credit, he takes a lot of pride," Francona said. "I just thought the last few days -- and he ended up getting a couple of hits -- just looked a little tired. It didn't look like his legs were under him as much as they needed to."

• Outfielders Lonnie Chisenhall (right calf strain) and Bradley Zimmer (left rib contusion) will continue their Minor League rehab assignment in Columbus, rather than Akron, where they began their assignments respectively. Francona said both are nearing returns, but he wants to give them as many at-bats in the Minors as possible to get them back to midseason form.

"If something happens we could activate them, but in a perfect world give them a few more at-bats," Francona said. "But have them ready just in case something happens."

Casey Harrison is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians, Lonnie Chisenhall, Bradley Zimmer