"Emotional" Shane Bieber holds back tears ahead of Cleveland Guardians' Home Opener

Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians
Atlanta Braves v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages

The Cleveland Guardians are getting ready for their first home game of the season, but they will be doing so without the services of one of their best players. Shane Bieber.

Bieber was originally scheduled to start the Home Opener against the Chicago White Sox, but now that honor will go to Triston McKenzie. That was before sustaining what is now known to be a season-ending Tommy John injury in his pitching elbow. Bieber will require surgery that will end his season after just two starts.

The 2020 Cy Young Award winner spoke with local media prior to the Guardians' first home game and had to hold back tears in a time that can only be described as heartbreaking. Bieber would have the following to say about the rest of the 2024 season, "I know I’ll be a part of it, but just in a different capacity.”.

This would have been the first true Home Opener that Bieber has pitched for the Guardians, as his previous one took place during the abbreviated 2020 season that did not have fans in the stands. There is a huge difference between pitching in an empty stadium compared to a sold-out Progressive Field filled with fans to its maximum capacity. This would have been one of the brighter moments in Bieber's career thus far, and it will again have to wait until at least next season.

That is if Bieber does remain with the Guardians after this year. Bieber is set to become a free agent when 2024 is up, and there is the possibility that he could sign elsewhere. That is a big reason why Cleveland was looking to trade Bieber before the end of last season, before having to shut him down ahead of the trade deadline. If Bieber had stayed healthy, there is a good chance he would have been dealt by the club already.

For now, the Guardians have to move forward without the Ace of their staff. Concerning Bieber's future with the ball club? The chances he may return next year do seem like they are greater than this time last week. Teams may be hesitant to make a financial commitment for someone who has missed time in consecutive seasons with elbow issues, and that could result in the Guardians doing right by Bieber and signing him to a new contract after the season is over.