GOODYEAR, Ariz. – If Corey Kluber starts on the mound for Opening Day he will be one of only four Cleveland pitchers in the last 40 years to start three straight openers.
The Associated Press is telling fans not to get their hopes up. Manager Terry Francona said Sunday that the team will take a slow approach this spring with the pitcher.
Kluber, also known as the Klubot, is known for being the first pitcher to strike out eight batters in the first three innings of a World Series. He also had been a workhorse for the Indians last year.
“We’ve told Kluber because we are slowing him down a little bit, if he’s not ready for Game 1, we can adjust,” Francona said. “And we’re more than willing to.”
Kluber pitched 215 innings during the regular season last year and then another 24 1/3 innings in the Indian’s long playoff-run. The 30-year-old ace is 58-44 with a 3.44 ERA in six seasons with the Indians.
SB Nation calls Kluber an “indestructible pitching machine,” but even the best machines need some rest every once and a while. Francona isn’t ready to say whether the right-hander will get the nod on April 3 when the AL champions play at Texas.