Corey Kluber takes step in rehab, throws light mound session for New York Yankees

Jul 23, 2021

Marly RiveraESPN Writer

CloseMarly Rivera is a writer for and

Corey Kluber’s return to the New York Yankees rotation was questionable after being sidelined in late May due to a shoulder strain, but the two-time AL Cy Young Award winner said Friday he is “very confident” he can return this season.

“[I am confident] because of the way I’ve felt throwing, the way I bounce back, the calendar, things like that,” Kluber made the comments before the Yankees’ 6-2 loss at Fenway Park to the Boston Red Sox. “The way I look at it is that I’m not really trying to think I’m up against a timeline because I think the natural process of the rehab will allow for that.”

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Kluber threw 25 pitches Friday in his first mound session since being placed on the 60-day injured list, calling it “a good step for Corey.”

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In his first outing following his first career no-hitter in May, Kluber was pulled after throwing three innings against the Toronto Blue Jays. An MRI showed that Kluber had a subscapularis strain in his right shoulder. He was placed on the injured waiting list.

Kluber’s shoulder strain required him to be on full rest for at most four weeks. Then, he needed to undergo rehabilitation for at least four more weeks. Kluber didn’t give a time frame for his return to the IL, but he will be eligible to go off it on July 25.

Kluber described his throws on Friday as “easy fastballs,” adding that it was “nothing like I would do in a regular bullpen session.”

“I have to sit back and wait for the process to unfold,” he said. “I’ve just found it’s easier for me to take it day by day and not get ahead of myself, not look too far in advance. I think that’s probably the best way … It’s about paying attention to the way you recover and the way you bounce back when there is a new step along the way.”

Kluber, 35 years old, had come back from injury to be named the No. Gerrit Cole is the No. 2 starter in New York. Kluber went 4-2, with a 2.86 ERA. He also had 50 strikeouts before the injury.

Also Friday, catcher Gary Sanchez was taken out of the game in Boston with what the team described as “mid-back spasms.”

With Cole’s personal catcher, Kyle Higashioka, still on the COVID-19 IL, Sanchez caught Cole for a second straight start. After allowing three runs and six hits, the Yankees’ ace was tagged with his fifth loss for the season. The Cole-Sánchez battery held the Red Sox to one run in six innings in the Yankees’ rain-shortened victory at Yankee Stadium last Saturday.

“We’ll see how he responds overnight,” Boone said about Sánchez’s availability for the rest of the series. “He’s in there getting treatment now, and we’ll see where we’re at tomorrow. It’s just something that locked up on him and hopefully it’s a short-term thing.”

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