Last week was fun, wasn’t it? Six wins in a row, multiple walk-offs, a sweep of the White Sox, and a no-hitter to boot. Well, the Yankees had an off-day on Monday and their first game afterward came on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays with the same man who spun the no-no on the mound again: Corey Kluber.
Unfortunately, Tuesday turned out to be a rude awakening. Toronto jumped out to an early lead, the offense looked lifeless against Steven Matz, and worst of all, Kluber suddenly departed his start after just three innings. Due in part to a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. homer, he had allowed two runs on two hits but there did not seem to be anything obviously wrong. Shortly after the veteran’s exit though the Yankees announced that he left with tightness in his right shoulder. He’ll undergo MRI imaging tomorrow.
In short, this sucks. Even before the no-hitter, Kluber had been pitching his best baseball since 2018 and had helped give manager Aaron Boone a No. 2 starter he could count on. It’s not as though he threw a ton of pitches in the no-no either, or anything out of the ordinary for May. Casting an even darker shadow on it all is that the shoulder is exactly what caused Kluber’s 2020 to consist of just a single inning. The injury was a Grade 2 teres major muscle strain in that same right shoulder. If it’s the same ailment (or even just similar), I don’t need to tell you that it’s bad news.
If he has to miss any time, then that means another question mark enters the rotation and the pressure builds on Jordan Montgomery, Jameson Taillon, and Domingo Germán. Deivi García would seem to be in line to fill Kluber’s spot since he last pitched on Saturday, but he also hasn’t exactly been sharp in Triple-A, walking 12 batters and allowing 10 runs in just 15.2 innings of work. Unless the team wants to give Michael King or one of the other random Triple-A starters a shot though, there really aren’t many alternatives.
Fingers crossed that Kluber’s injury isn’t as bad as it seems at the moment.
Kluber says he had trouble getting loose before game, did not experience any pain. But how he felt was compromising the quality of his pitches.— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) May 26, 2021
Awaiting MRI, but it "doesn't feel at all with what I dealt with last year'' when he tore the teres major muscle, back right shoulder.
I will take this as a positive.