Each home opener has its nuances, unlike other games of a long baseball season.

Apr. 9—Each home opener has its nuances, unlike other games of a long baseball season.

On Monday, the Cleveland Guardians had a most unusual opening day.

First, there was a total solar eclipse. Enough said.

But there's more.

Second, the Guardians played their first home opener since 2013 without Terry Francona in the dugout.

Third, former Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, the expected starting Cleveland pitcher for the home opener, addressed the media about his season-ending Tommy John surgery.

After the eclipse, which was very cool, and things started lightening up, Cleveland hosted the Chicago White Sox to start the 2024 home campaign.

Stephen Vogt, in his rookie season of managing the Guardians, said opening day is special.

"Hearing your name called," he said of the experience. "Let the fun begin to a new season with our fans."

The good news is Cleveland navigated its way to a 7-2 mark in road games at Oakland, Seattle and Minnesota.

The bad news is that the Guardians will have to challenge for an American League Central Division crown this season without Bieber, who despite being flawless in his starts against Oakland and Seattle, was hurt.

He gutted his way to a 2-0 mark without allowing run, walking just one and striking out 20.

But Bieber knew something wasn't right. After consultations and tests, the decision was made to go for the surgery.

"We were trying to address it the best I could," he said before the Guardians-White Sox game. "If there's damage to my ligament, it either goes away or I have surgery."

The injury is especially disheartening for Bieber, who worked hard in the offseason to get back to past form.

"Throughout the offseason and in spring training, I figured some things out, and was having a lot of fun," he said.

To further complicate the situation, Bieber is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. There had been speculation of the Guardians trading him either in the offseason or the All-Star break.

But that appears to not be in the cards now.

"The contract will work itself out," Bieber said. "Either way, I'll be fine. I just want to get this done and move forward."

His main focus is to have the surgery, go through the rehabilitation process and come back even stronger.

"I know I'll be part of the team, but in a different capacity," Bieber said. "I have a great support system."

The injury is not lost on Vogt, a former catcher.

"I feel for Shane and what he's going through," Vogt said before Monday's game.

Vogt said not giving Bieber the ball every five days will have an impact on the team.

"But that's the least of our concerns now," Vogt said.

Vogt said the coaching staff is still deciding who will take Bieber's spot in the rotation. There's internal options such as Ben Lively and Xzavion Curry. Gavin Williams, who was one of three rookies to emerge in the starting rotation last season, is working his way back after suffering elbow inflammation in mid-March.

External options haven't been discussed yet, but that's certainly a possibility.

But no matter who the Guardians put on the mound or at the plate, the goal remains the same.

"We'll try to put a lineup out there to beat the starter each night," Vogt said.

Mike Greco is Sports Editor for the Star Beacon