CLEVELAND: As Shane Bieber grabbed the ball to warm up before the first inning of Friday night’s game against the Detroit Tigers, Francisco Lindor lingered as he sometimes does, but this time he did so with a wide grin.

He knew the next thing Bieber would hear would not be his designated warmup song, which each pitcher can pick.

Because the veterans in the Indians rotation had other ideas.

As Bieber toed the rubber, Justin Bieber’s song Baby blared through the PA system, and Lindor’s already wide grin doubled. Bieber suspects Corey Kluber — known as the prankster of the clubhouse (despite his reputation of 24/7 seriousness) — was the actual mastermind.

“I was laughing,” Bieber said. “Frankie was near the mound and he was singing along, making fun of me. I asked him, ‘Who did this?’ I thought it was him, because he was enjoying it so much, but I think I found out it was one of the starting five. My intuition said it was Kluber.”

The Indians rotation had some fun with the new guy, but what Bieber has done on the mound in his first three career starts has been all business.

In 18⅓ innings, he’s allowed only five runs (2.45 ERA), struck out 22 and walked three. Bieber also became the first Indians pitcher since Luis Tiant in 1964 to strike out at least six hitters in each of his first three outings. He’s faced the Minnesota Twins twice and a Miguel Cabrera-less Tigers, so he hasn’t quite gone up against the league’s best, but the 23-year-old Bieber has come as advertised and then some.

“Remember I was telling you before the game I was excited to watch him pitch? That’s why,” Indians manager Terry Francona said after Friday’s outing, in which Bieber tossed seven scoreless innings and struck out nine. “I mean, shoot he pounded the zone with three different pitches, he changed speeds. We made an error, two pitches later he got a double play. One inning he had a swinging bunt and a bloop to right, then he attacked the zone and got out of it.

“I mean, man, that was fun to watch.”

Health permitting, the Indians right now have a pretty clear idea of what four starting pitchers they’ll take into a postseason series — Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer and Mike Clevinger. As of a few days ago, the Indians were the lone team in baseball with four pitchers in the top 20 in fWAR.

Finding a fifth starter in the rotation might not be as much of a focus in October as other questions around the roster, but it’s still remained one of the larger holes with Josh Tomlin struggling to start the year, Danny Salazar remaining in Arizona and Adam Plutko not being quite as consistent.

Three starts is hardly a large enough sample size to make any declarations, but Bieber is at least well on his well on his way to solving that problem with a solid showing thus far.

“I was telling [bench coach Brad Mills] in one of the innings, I looked up and he has like 21 strikeouts and three walks,” Francona said. “For a young kid coming to the big leagues for the first time, you never see that. Usually, it takes a lot to kind of figure out they can throw strikes and get through it. He just keeps attacking, and it gets exciting.”

Friday was also Bieber’s first major-league start that came with some sort of a regular between-start routine after his first two outings followed promotions from Triple-A.

“Two big factors are also just being able to settle into a routine these past five days, that’s been huge,” Bieber said. “I think we’re super routine-oriented as a clubhouse, and we preach that from the first step on the mound. Being able to set into a routine, and also actually the rain delay helped out. I sat down. I had nerves before, but the rain delay kind of calmed me down, and I tried to stay occupied and locked in and loose.”

Injury updates

Andrew Miller, on the 10-day disabled list since May 26 with right knee inflammation, is going through strengthening exercises only and is expected to resume throwing by Monday, according to an update provided by the club.

Francona added Miller could start throwing off a mound in “10-ish” days, but the focus is on his long-term health, not the first day that he can return.

“We want to get him back and let him come back and be himself,” Francona said. “The best way to do that is to be patient. I think he’s doing really well. ... But, we really want him to come back [at 100 percent]. We saw the load he carried a couple years ago. For us to get where we want to go, and have the best chance to do that, he’s going to carry a big load.”

Carlos Carrasco (right elbow contusion) got through his long-toss session fine and is slated to throw a bullpen session on Monday.

And Tyler Olson (lat strain) is expected to resume playing catch within the next few days.

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the Indians blog at www.ohio.com/indians. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ.