Rangers’ Kluber lasts 1 inning in 1st start in 15 months

Sports

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Corey Kluber throws against the Colorado Rockies in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, July 26, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. Kluber was removed from the game after one inning. (AP Photo/Louis DeLuca)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Kluber’s Texas debut lasted just one inning.

The right-hander threw just 18 pitches Sunday before departing his first start in almost 15 months with shoulder tightness.

The Rangers, who acquired the two-time Cy Young Award winner in an offseason trade with Cleveland, said Kluber reported feeling the tightness in the first few pitches and it got worse as the inning progressed against Colorado. He was examined by a team doctor and will be further evaluated Monday.

The 34-year-old Kluber was knocked out of his last start for the Indians on May 1, 2019, when his right forearm was broken by a comeback liner.

On Sunday, Kluber struck out leadoff hitter David Dahl and walked Trevor Story, who was thrown out trying to steal before Charlie Blackmon popped out. Kluber was replaced by left-hander Joe Palumbo.

Kluber’s five-year run as an opening-day starter ended with the former Cleveland ace starting the third game for the Rangers, the finale of the opening series in their new $1.2 billion retractable roof stadium.

The early departure was essentially the second time Kluber’s return has been short-circuited since breaking his forearm. He was close to coming back last season when he sustained an oblique injury during a rehab start last August.

Going into the 2019 season, Kluber was on a five-season stretch as one of baseball’s best pitchers. He was a 20-game winner in 2018, and the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2014 and 2017. The three-time All-Star threw at least 203 innings with 222 strikeouts or more each season.

Before his Texas debut, Kluber made all 208 appearances and 203 starts with the Indians over nine seasons. He’s two wins shy of 100 for his career.

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