Guardians' Bieber needs Tommy John surgery, Atlanta's Strider has damage to elbow ligament

Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber will have season-ending elbow ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery, while Atlanta pitcher Spencer Strider also has damage to his right elbow, an MRI revealed Saturday.

Position players Luis Robert Jr., Story also suffer injuries in MLB action on Friday

Cleveland Guardians right-handed starting pitcher throws against the Mariners during an April 2, 2024 major league game in Seattle.
Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber, who had pain in his right elbow following this week's start against the Mariners, missed several months last season with elbow issues. (Lindsey Wasson/Associated Press/File)

Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber will have season-ending elbow ligament replacement (Tommy John) surgery, a major blow to the team and the 2020 Cy Young Award winner.

Bieber, who missed several months last season with elbow issues, experienced pain following an opening-day start in Oakland and again this week against Seattle. The right-hander had imaging tests, and reconstructive surgery on his ulnar collateral ligament was recommended by several doctors.

The recovery time can take up to 16 months following the surgery.

Incredibly, Bieber pitched 12 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts in his first two starts despite feeling pain in the elbow. Both he and the team had hoped it would calm down, but the discomfort only worsened.

"He really put in a ton of work this winter and throughout spring training and we all felt he was on a good path to stay healthy and contribute for the balance of the season," Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said on a Zoom call. "But ultimately when he got back into games and faced the stress of the major league environment, it just was too much for him."Bieber returned to Cleveland this week to be examined, and made the decision Friday to have surgery, Antonetti said.

Bieber is entering his final year under contract with the Guardians, who are off to a 6-2 start under first-year manager Stephen Vogt heading into Saturday's game in Minnesota.

The 28-year-old Bieber is 62-32 with a 3.22 earned-run average in 134 career starts with Cleveland. He led the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.

Strider on IL with sprained UCL

Atlanta placed ace right-hander Spencer Strider on the 15-day injured list Sunday.

The move with Strider was expected after an MRI on Saturday revealed a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. No decision on possible season-ending Tommy John surgery is expected before Strider is evaluated further by Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas, at a date to be determined.

Even though the team did not announce the severity of the damage, Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said the result "wasn't good."

"You hate that," Snitker said. "You hate it for him. I feel really bad for him. I mean, the kid does everything right. Loves to compete. … We'll just wait and see what they decide to do. … I'm sure they'll have something in a few days."

Strider complained about discomfort in his elbow after pitching four innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, in Atlanta's 6-5 win over Arizona on Friday night.

Snitker said Strider did not mention the problem with his elbow until after the game.

Strider had Tommy John surgery in 2019 while at Clemson University in South Carolina.

He was 20-5 last season, leading the major leagues in wins. His 281 strikeouts also were the most in the big leagues.

The loss of Strider could be devastating to Atlanta's rotation. Strider was Snitker's choice over Max Fried to open the season as the Braves' No. 1 starter.

Yankees' Loaisiga needs elbow surgery

With a downcast look and a soft voice, New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga said he needs season-ending elbow surgery and will be sidelined 10 to 12 months.

A 29-year-old right-hander, Loaisiga said he felt a pop in his elbow while throwing a changeup to Jorge Barrosa, his final batter in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 6-5, 11-inning win at Arizona.

"Very frustrating. Really tough," Loaisiga said through a translator Saturday in a nearly empty Yankees clubhouse. "Last year the injury took me out of the game for quite some time. And this year, after this, I'm going to end up losing the rest of the season."

Loaisiga has a forearm strain caused by a torn ulnar collateral ligament and will have surgery with Texas Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Loaisiga had Tommy John surgery with Yankees head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on May 1, 2016, and returned to the mound in June 2017 in the Gulf Coast League.

Loaisiga said he anticipates this operation will be ligament repair rather than replacement, known as Tommy John surgery. The rehab time for repair usually is shorter.

Loaisiga is 19-11 with a 3.44 ERA in 152 relief appearances and 11 starts.

White Sox OF pulls up lame running bases

Chicago White Sox center fielder Luis Robert Jr. left Friday's game against the Kansas City Royals with a left hip flexor injury.

Robert pulled up lame at second after a one-out double in the ninth inning of the White Sox 2-1 loss to the Royals. In obvious pain, he was assisted by Chicago trainers before leaving the field under his own power.

As one of the few White Sox hitters enjoying success this season, Robert is hitting .214 with two home runs and a team-leading four runs batted in. The team has dropped six of seven to start the season, scoring 10 total runs in six losses.

Robert hit 38 home runs with 80 RBI in 2023, earning his first all-star berth. He suffered a similar injury in 2021, missing 85 games and more than three months of the season.

Red Sox SS dislocates left shoulder

Boston Red Sox shortstop Trevor Story has been placed on the 10-day injured list after dislocating his left shoulder while making a diving stop on Mike Trout's hit Friday night.

Boston recalled infielder David Hamilton from triple-A Worcester on Saturday to take the roster spot of Story, who has been beset by injuries since joining the Red Sox two seasons ago.

Boston chief baseball officer Craig Breslow declined to say when Story is likely to return, saying the club needs more information. Breslow also didn't know whether Story will need surgery.

Story will be re-examined in Boston on Monday.

The 31-year-old Story had an MRI exam on Saturday revealing the dislocation, which occurred when the two-time all-star hit the ground hard while making a backhand stop on Trout's single in the fourth inning of Boston's 8-6 victory. Story was left writhing in pain on the outfield grass after landing with most of his body weight on his shoulder.

Story started each of Boston's first eight games this season, finally getting back to normal after two seasons filled with injury woes since he left Colorado for a six-year, $140-million US deal with the Red Sox in March 2022.

Story played in just 94 games in 2022 after missing significant time with injuries to his right hand and left foot. He appeared in only 43 games last season after recovering from major offseason surgery on his right elbow.

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