Corey Kluber has short but solid first start for Yankees

Corey Kluber’s first outing with the Yankees did not last as long as he may have hoped, but the veteran right-hander had to be happy with what he showed in his debut in pinstripes.

Kluber worked out of a few jams in a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays on Saturday in The Bronx and looked in control for most of the day. He allowed just one earned run on five hits in four innings. He struck out five and walked three, leaving after surrendering a home run to start the fifth inning,

For Kluber, this was another step forward after missing all but one game last year as a member of the Rangers.

“It was fun to get back out there and have a chance to compete with the boys,” Kluber said. “I think that all in all I made pitches when I needed to.”

Corey Kluber
Corey Kluber
Robert Sabo

The two-time Cy Young winner threw 74 pitches in his first start since July of last year. Kluber held the Blue Jays scoreless in the first two innings. He lost his command a bit in the third and walked two batters and threw a wild pitch. One of those batters, Danny Jansen, scored on a throwing error by catcher Gary Sanchez after Kluber struck out Cavan Biggio. Kluber then struck out Bo Bichette to end the inning.

Toronto loaded the bases in the fourth before Kluber got Jansen to ground out to shortstop and get out of the inning.

“I thought Corey threw the ball well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He had pretty easy first couple of innings there and then had to extend himself a little bit, had that little stretch there where he lost the zone a little bit. Just the movement on his pitches, the ability to move in and out I thought was really good.

“I thought overall it was another good step for him.”

Marcus Semien homered off Kluber to start the fifth inning and Boone pulled him. He left the game with the Yankees ahead 3-2, but took a no-decision after pitching just four innings.

For Kluber, just being on the mound was a win after a torn muscle in his right shoulder limited to 18 pitches last season with the Rangers. He has only thrown 36 ²/₃ innings over the past two years, making just seven starts in 2019 with Cleveland as he dealt with forearm and oblique injuries.

“You spend a lot of time by yourself rehabbing whether it’s away from the team when they’re on the road or coming in early and doing things before all the guys are in there,” Kluber, who signed a one-year, $11 million deal with the Yankees, said. “You kind of miss that team aspect of it.”

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