The New York Yankeesâ€™ top five in the rotation are set, with Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, Jordan Montgomery, and Domingo German. However, the last four havenâ€™t pitched much in the last couple of years because of injuries.
Kluber has been allowing loud contact early on in spring trainingâ€™s live batting practice against his Yankeesâ€™ teammates, but according to the pitcher, there is nothing to worry: he is exactly where he needs to be.
Kluber tested his stuff for two innings of batting practice, and pitched to talented Yankees hitters such as Aaron Judge, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit.
â€œMy goal is to hit the ground running on Opening Day,â€ Kluber said to MLB.com. â€œItâ€™s no secret that I probably havenâ€™t been at my best early on in the season previously in my career; not that I want to be OK with that. Iâ€™m always trying to tweak what I need to feel like it will have been better prepared from the get-go. Every game is important.â€
The Yankees are giving him a pass
Voit homered off Kluber, and LeMahieu hit the ball really hard. But itâ€™s still very early in the spring, and those are extremely talented hitters. Manager Aaron Boone is also willing to give Kluber a pass, and rightly so.
â€œI feel really good about his progress,â€ Boone said. â€œI thought he finished better than he started, and I think the stuff is overall pretty crisp. Iâ€™m encouraged where heâ€™s at. Weâ€™re sitting here in February, and weâ€™ve got essentially a stud pitcher ramping up for a season.â€
Kluber was particularly impressed with Judge. â€œThereâ€™s not many people in the game as big or as strong,â€ the pitcher said. â€œItâ€™s definitely a different look for a pitcher.â€
The Yankees signed Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal on January 27, as the right-hander, who has been brilliant when healthy, tries to re-establish his value and test the market after the 2021 World Series.