Shane Bieber, the unanimous winner of the 2020 AL Cy Young Award, is experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19 after a recent positive test, according to Cleveland’s president of baseball operations, Chris Antonetti. David Dermer/Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Cleveland Indians pitchers reported to training camp without their ace.

Shane Bieber, who dominated hitters last season while winning the AL Cy Young Award, recently tested positive with COVID-19 and has not yet reported to the club’s facility in Goodyear, Arizona.

President of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said Thursday that Bieber had contracted the virus and would be delayed in joining his teammates.

“He has very, very mild symptoms,” Antonetti said on a video call with reporters. “In fact, they were barely noticeable. He’s working through the protocols to return. We expect him to get back to the complex at some point within the next few days.”

Antonetti would not disclose when Bieber tested positive. Per Major League Baseball’s protocols, Bieber has to isolate for at least 10 days from the time he tested positive. He’s being monitored by the team’s training staff and then will have to be medically cleared before he’s allowed to integrate with the team.

Antonetti said Bieber had been working out at the team’s complex this winter.


Bieber, 25, was dominant last season, leading the league in wins (8), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) – a Triple Crown for pitchers – in 12 starts.

Cleveland and 39-year-old left-handed reliever Oliver Pérez agreed to a minor league deal that includes an invitation to big league training camp.

Pérez went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 21 games last season while helping the Indians gain a wild-card spot.

BLUE JAYS: The team expects to split the home portion of this year’s regular schedule among its spring training complex in Dunedin, Florida, its Triple-A ballpark in Buffalo, New York, and the Rogers Center in Toronto.

Toronto announced it will play the first two homestands of the season in Dunedin because of Canadian government restrictions during the pandemic.

Team President Mark Shapiro said a return to Buffalo is a likely option in June because of the heat and humidity in Florida. He hopes for games in Toronto at some point during the summer.


“The alternatives for our season lie with some combination of Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto,” Shapiro said.

The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo and were 17-9 at Sahlen Field, home of their Buffalo Bisons Triple-A farm team. The Canadian government didn’t allow the team to play at home because of the risk of spreading COVID-19, citing frequent travel required in the U.S. during a baseball season

Shapiro said he didn’t ask the Canadian government to start the season in Toronto because public health has not yet improved sufficiently and the border remains closed to nonessential travel.

It remains unlikely the Blue Jays would gain approval to play May games in Toronto. A return home in the second half may be more realistic, after players and large segments of the population in the U.S. and Canada are vaccinated.

The TD Ballpark in Dunedin seats about 8,500 fans and had a major renovation in 2019-20. The Blue Jays intend to limit capacity to 15%.

Toronto last played at 49,000-capacity Rogers Centre on Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.


“That’s where we want to be,” Shapiro said. “That’s just not a realistic possibility right now with the circumstances being what they are and with the border being closed,”

PHILLIES: All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto has a small fracture in his right thumb and will be evaluated again in two weeks.

Realmuto was injured while blocking a pitch six days ago. He practiced on the first day of spring training Wednesday, but an MRI later revealed the break. His hand will be immobilized but it’s possible he’ll still catch pitchers during bullpen sessions.

Realmuto said he’s confident he’ll be ready for the season opener on April 1, but wants to make sure hs thumb has healed.

“I’m not very worried about my thumb, so if I was a Phillies fan, I wouldn’t be too worried,” said Realmuto, who signed a $115.5 million, five-year contract last month.

ATHLETICS: Experienced closer Trevor Rosenthal reached agreement on an $11 million, one-year contract with Oakland, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.


The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.

Oakland also reached a $2.25 million, one-year contract with first baseman and designated hitter Mitch Moreland, pending a physical.

Rosenthal, 30, is another new addition to a rebuilt bullpen that General Manager David Forst made a priority after Oakland closer Liam Hendriks left as a free agent to sign a $54 million, four-year contract with the Chicago White Sox.

Rosenthal went 1-0 with a 1.90 ERA with 11 saves over 23 2/3 innings for the Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres last season.

With slugger Khris Davis having departed to Texas in a trade earlier this month, Moreland will have ample opportunities to contribute and get at-bars on an Oakland team that has made the playoffs each of the past three years.

The veteran utilityman, 35, batted .265 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI in 42 games between Boston and San Diego last season.


ASTROS: Manager Dusty Baker said he had been vaccinated against COVID-19, but said he understands the reticence of some in his community to get the vaccine because of this country’s history with medical studies on Black people without permission.

Baker, 71, was only convinced to get the vaccine after seeing a television interview with a Black doctor connected to one of the vaccines who guaranteed this would not be “another Tuskegee Experiment.”

The Tuskegee Experiment was a study of syphilis conducted on Black men in Tuskegee, Alabama, from 1932-72. It provided no treatment for the disease and was done without the informed consent of its participants.

“I was very aware of the experiment and so was my mom and dad,” Baker said. “And so, I was a little leery about getting the vaccine.”

Baker, the second-oldest manager in the majors, also noted that getting the vaccine was important for him because his age makes him more susceptible to severe complications from the coronavirus.

He received the second dose of the vaccine about two weeks ago before he traveled from his home in California to West Palm Beach, Florida, to begin his second season with the Astros.


Though Baker decided getting the vaccine was right for him, he won’t try to change the mind of people who are “staunchly against” getting it. That includes his elderly mother.

“It’s their decision,” he said. “My mom will be 90 on March 1 and she’s not going to get it. She refused to get it.”

He won’t press those who are strongly against getting it to change their minds. But he is comfortable with encouraging people who aren’t sure about it to be vaccinated.

“So, I’m urging people to try to sort of take care of themselves,” he said. “And I know it’s a kind of touchy situation. A lot of people don’t trust the vaccine… you do what you’ve got to do. But my suggestion was for those that are on the fence, get the vaccine.”

Also on Thursday, the team announced that third-base coach Gary Pettis, who missed the end of last season after being diagnosed with cancer, would miss spring training but will rejoin the team for the regular season.

TWINS: Former Minnesota second baseman Brian Dozier has retired after nine years in the major leagues and 167 career home runs, the Twins announced.


Dozier played his first seven seasons for the Twins, who traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers right before the deadline in 2018. He hit 20 homers and won the World Series with the Washington Nationals in 2019. Last year, Dozier signed with the San Diego Padres, was released before the pandemic-delayed season began and played briefly for the New York Mets.

MARLINS: Former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria reached a final lawsuit settlement to reimburse local government $5.5 million for the cost of building Marlins Park, which opened in 2012.

The Miami-Dade County commission approved the deal after Loria agreed to a last-minute increase in the amount. A tentative settlement of $4.2 million was reached last month.

The payment stems from the $1.2 billion sale of team by Loria in 2017 to Derek Jeter and his ownership group. Loria bought the Marlins for $158.5 million in 2002.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.