Yankees’ Corey Kluber takes huge step forward in recovery process

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

The last two seasons for New York Yankees pitcher Corey Kluber haven’t gone as anticipated. He’s only pitched 36.2 innings since 2019, lasting just 1.0 innings before picking up a serious shoulder injury last season.

The issue was so serious it shut him down for the rest of the year, and the 2-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher took his talents to free agency after the Texas Rangers rejected his $18 million contract option.

Nonetheless, general manager Brian Cashman saw that as an opportunity, inking him to a one-year, $11 million deal this past off-season. If all goes well, Kluber will end up being an absolute steal on the free-agent market, but they are betting on him to be his 2018 self, which is two years removed and several injuries in the hole.

Kluber enjoyed his first throwing session with catcher Gary Sanchez on Sunday, and everything seems to be progressing well up to this point.

“He’s come in here having thrown live and even been more strenuous than [Sunday] was,” skipper Aaron Boone said. “It was good to get Gary with him in a live setting. Another good step forward in the process for him.”

Boone also stated the session was “good” for Kluber, who’s working his way back from a serious shoulder injury he suffered in his first start last year.

Just two years ago, Kluber threw 215 innings and earned a 2.89 ERA. He struck out 222 batters, allowing 69 earned runs. With Gerrit Cole slotted just ahead of him, the Yankees have the potential to be an extremely efficient starting rotation, barring any injuries. Considering Cashman was forced to be extremely frugal with his spending this off-season, he was forced to take necessary risks on injured players with high upside.

The Yankees also acquired Jameson Taillon in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates, considering all the great things Cole had to say about his former teammate, the expectation is that he could end up being a dominant starter for the Bombers as well.

I have to say, I was a bit skeptical entering the off-season after these moves, but things seem to be progressing nicely, and both starters are healthy and ready to go. That is the best-case scenario up to this point.