Kluber Cruises Through Rehab Start with Akron RubberDucks
Bob Toth | On 27, May 2017
Making his first start with the Akron RubberDucks since September 6, 2010, Corey Kluber worked five scoreless innings in a quick and efficient outing as he continued to work his way back from a lower back strain.
Out since May 3 after exiting a start in Detroit against the Tigers, the 31-year-old right-hander made easy work of the Bowie Baysox on Friday night, just one day after his planned rehab start with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers was rained out.
Kluber allowed a first inning single to Adrian Marin with one out before the Bowie shortstop was doubled up on a grounder to first. Kluber covered the back end of the play at first base to retire the third out of the inning, showing an ability to get off of the mound and over to first base that gave further evidence that his ailing back was better.
He needed just six pitches to get through the second inning, getting a fly out, a line out, and a grounder to third to set down the Baysox. He used just six more pitches to get out of the third frame, getting a pair of grounders to short to Yu-Cheng Chang before a grounder to Tyler Krieger at second.
Kluber notched his only strikeout of the night to start the fourth inning, getting a swinging K of Jay Gonzalez. A liner to right and a comebacker off of Kluber to Chang at short ended the inning. Akron gave him a lead to work with in the bottom of the fourth as Dorssys Paulino drove home Kluber’s batterymate for the day, Francisco Mejia, on a single to center.
The Tribe righty came back out for the fifth and got three outs in the air before the RubberDucks opened up the scoring with a three-run bottom half, getting an RBI-single from Mejia to score Krieger before a two-run double by Bobby Bradley made it a 4-0 game.
Akron tacked on six more runs in the bottom of the seventh to erase all doubt as the ‘Ducks moved back over the .500 mark at 22-21 on the year.
In relief of Kluber, Dylan Baker, another member of the Indians’ 40-man roster, fired a perfect sixth inning, striking out one. David Speer worked two scoreless innings, giving up a single, and Leandro Linares worked the ninth, allowing a single and a double, but getting a strikeout in his scoreless inning to finish the combined four-hit shutout.
Kluber worked five innings, allowing just a single while keeping the Baysox off of the scoreboard. He struck out one and was aggressive in the strike zone, throwing 33 of 47 pitches for strikes on the night. He had initially been expected to make 60-75 pitches in his rehab outing in Columbus on Thursday, but averaging less than ten pitches thrown per inning, he lasted just five innings.
“Obviously, I didn’t throw many pitches but what I did, I felt good, getting up and down four or five times felt good,” shared Kluber after the game. “When you can get in a groove and stick with it, it goes well. Sometimes, I obviously run into more trouble than that but they were fairly aggressive and Frankie (his catcher Mejia) did a good job of keeping them off-balance”
With the successful start under his belt, Kluber is in line for a return to the Indians rotation, likely Thursday afternoon in the series finale with the Oakland Athletics. A roster move will need to be made at that point to create room for the Indians ace.
Photo: Akron RubberDucks