Although the Yankees’ rotation has been riddled by injuries and COVID-19, this hasn’t stopped the team from winning 11 straight games for the first time since 1985.
Now, they appear to be getting closer to having one of their top starters return in right-hander Corey Kluber.
Kluber tossed his third rehab start on Tuesday night for Double-A Somerset, and despite a rocky first inning, he settled down to have a solid outing.
Overall, Kluber went 3.2 innings on 60 pitches while allowing two runs on five hits and striking out four with only one walk.
While this was certainly Kluber’s best rehab performance to date, he will likely need to be stretched out more before rejoining the Yankees’ rotation.
“He’ll just continue to get sharper the more that he gets back into his routine, builds up his pitch count and builds up that rhythm, that midseason form that you have to go refine after having that long time period off,” said Somerset pitching coach Daniel Moskos.
In the meantime, lefty Nestor Cortes has stepped up to emerge as a capable starter and is coming off back-to-back impressive outings where he allowed three runs and picked up 14 strikeouts across 13 innings.
As for Andrew Heaney, he has been a bit shaky since the Yankees acquired him from the Angels, but he pitched well enough to help his team beat the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night, and dominated the Red Sox in seven innings of one-run ball in his start before last on August 18.
However, with Kluber on his way back, and seemingly ahead of Domingo Germán (shoulder inflammation) and Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery) after their latest setbacks, the 35-year-old should slide in to replace Heaney in the very least.
Prior to suffering a shoulder injury, Kluber tossed a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers in May and had a 3.04 ERA across 10 starts. Kluber has not pitched for the Yankees since May 25.
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