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Guardians ace Shane Bieber has Tommy John surgery. 2020 Cy Young winner's pitching future uncertain

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber had Tommy John surgery on Friday and will start a long recovery.

The 2020 Cy Young Award winner made two strong starts this season before pain in his elbow became too overwhelming and surgery was recommended. Bieber will be sidelined for the rest of 2024.

The Guardians said Texas Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the operation in Texas and “was pleased with the results” of the reconstruction of Bieber's ulnar collateral ligament.

Bieber is scheduled to report to the team's training facility in Goodyear, Arizona, on Saturday for his post-op appointment.

The 28-year-old Bieber became emotional this week when discussing his situation. He was limited to just 21 starts last season by elbow issues and had worked hard during the off-season, saying he was “falling back in love with pitching again.”

Despite pain in his elbow, Bieber pitched 12 scoreless innings with 20 strikeouts in outings against Oakland and Seattle.

Bieber was with the Guardians for the first two games of their first homestand. On opening day and received a huge ovation from Cleveland's crowd when he was introduced during pregame festivities.

This is Bieber's final year under club control, and his future with Cleveland heading into free agency is as uncertain as his pitching career.

“I think that’s important as a human being to be able to process your emotions, work through it, and that I’m coming to terms with everything,” he said. "So the contract situation that’ll work out how it’s going to work out. I truly do believe that and I’ll be fine either way.

“I have no answers right now. Right now I’m just focused on getting this thing done, getting it started and moving forward.”

Bieber is 62-32 with a 3.22 ERA in 134 starts with Cleveland. The right-hander led the majors in wins, ERA and strikeouts during the pandemic-shortened '20 season.

Bieber broke in with Cleveland in 2018, and the following year he was named MVP of the All-Star Game when the Guardians hosted. He avoided salary arbitration in January by agreeing to a one-year contract for $13.,125,000.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

Tom Withers, The Associated Press