New York Yankees: Corey Kluber set to make highly anticipated first start on Saturday

New York Yankees, Corey Kluber
Feb 21, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Corey Kluber (28) throws a pitch at Yankees player development complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s finally happening. On Saturday, Corey Kluber makes his highly anticipated debut for the New York Yankees.

After a few seasons of up-and-down performances from the starting rotation, the Yankees needed to find a way to bolster their pitching staff over the winter. They decided to take a flyer on Kluber, a former Cy Young Award winner despite making just eight starts since the beginning of the 2019 season.

His velocity isn’t what it once was, now topping off around 90 mph, but scouts believe his stuff is as good as ever. The Yankees needed experience in their young rotation — a veteran to fill the void of the departing Masahiro Tanaka. And that’s exactly what they got, but the question is, will Kluber pan out the way the team hopes?

We’ll get our first taste of Kluber on Saturday afternoon against a talented Blue Jays squad. Toronto knocked off the Yankees in game one of the season on Thursday, and now it’ll be up to Kluber to put New York in the win column for the first time in 2021.

Kluber pitched relatively well in Spring Training, but his stats are taken with a grain of salt. In four starts, Kluber gave up four earned runs across 13 innings. Not bad, but again, it’s Spring Training. Pitchers are often working on different parts of their game in spring starts, so it’s hard to translate what Kluber did in March to what he’ll do when he climbs the Yankee Stadium mound on Saturday afternoon.

With Deivi Garcia waiting in the wings, 2021 will likely be Kluber’s only in pinstripes. His goal for this season is to stay healthy and give the team quality starts. However, a Cy Young Award caliber season could keep the almost 35-year-old around longer. Kluber’s comeback campaign begins Saturday, and Yankee fans are expecting big things from their No. 2 pitcher.