Cleveland Guardians starting pitchers Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie are drawing closer to a return to game action with the regular season winding down.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona told reporters Monday that Bieber threw 45 pitches in a bullpen session on Sunday and McKenzie did the same Monday. They are set to face live batters later this week at Class-A Lake County before beginning minor league rehab assignments.
The team hopes for both Bieber and McKenzie to return to the big leagues around Sept. 20.
"They've attacked what they've been asked to do, which is the way you want it," Francona said. "If they get through this next with facing hitters and then we would send them out to pitch in a minor league rehab game that would be next. Hopefully they stay on course and we get ‘em back and see ‘em pitch for us."
Bieber, 28, won the American League Cy Young Award in 2020 and was 5-6 with a 3.77 ERA through 19 starts this year before going on the injured list in July with right elbow inflammation.
McKenzie, 26, landed on the injured list on June 17 with a sprained right elbow. Both he and Bieber were ultimately moved to the 60-day IL.
McKenzie started just two games and went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He began the season on the IL with a strained right teres major muscle.
Cleveland entered Monday 66-71, good for second place in the American League Central just five games behind the Minnesota Twins. The Twins and Guardians began a three-game series Monday night.
—Field Level Media