Cleveland Guardians Ace Needs Season-Ending Tommy John Surgery

Shane Bieber started the year with two incredible performances, but experienced elbow pain after his April 2 start at Seattle.
Apr 2, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (57) throws
Apr 2, 2024; Seattle, Washington, USA; Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber (57) throws / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cleveland Guardians are one of Major League Baseball's hottest stories during the first week of the season, but they just shared some awful news.

Staff ace Shane Bieber - who looked a lot like his former Cy Young Award-winning self in his first two starts of the season - needs Tommy John surgery and will miss the remainder of the year.

"Following his first start in Oakland and subsequent start in Seattle on April 2, Shane Bieber experienced a recurrence of medial right elbow pain," the team said in a press release. "This recurrence of symptoms prompted further medical due diligence, including imaging and evaluation by our team physicians.  Imaging and evaluations confirmed the presence of a re-injury to Shane’s proximal ulnar collateral ligament.  Additional medical opinions from leading sports medicine physicians, Drs. Keith Meister and Neal ElAttrache, confirmed the diagnosis.

"Given the recurrence of symptoms following an extended period of rest and rehabilitation during the 2023 season and subsequent off-season, surgical reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament has been recommended. We are in the process of coordinating surgery with Dr. Meister in Dallas."

Recovery timetables for this surgery can vary, but can take as long as 16 months.

Bieber is entering the final year of his contract with the Guardians, which makes the timing of this injury that much more frustrating for him and for the team. Bieber missed several months of the 2023 season with elbow injuries, but ultimately came back at the end of the year. His first two starts of the spring looked promising.

Since 1901, there have only been two occurrences for a starting pitcher to register at least 20 strikeouts, walk no more than one batter and not allow a run during his first two starts of the season. Bieber has both of them. In 12 innings this year, he struck out 20, walked 1 and didn't allow a run vs. Oakland or Seattle. When he won the Cy Young Award in 2020, he threw 14 scoreless innings with 27 strikeouts and only one walk.


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Brendan Gulick

BRENDAN GULICK

Brendan Gulick is the publisher for BuckeyesNow, Cleveland Baseball Insider and Cavs Insider on the FanNation Network. He is also an accomplished host and play-by-play voice on TV and radio, including on Big Ten Network and NCAA.com where he's called 45 NCAA national championships. Gulick is an update anchor and fill-in host at 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland, Ohio.