CLEVELAND (92.3 the Fan) – Corey Kluber did not pitch in the 2017 All-Star Game, mostly in part to pitching on Sunday night against the Tigers.
But the rest of the reason Kluber did not work on Tuesday was part of what makes him one of the game’s best pitchers.
The former Cy Young winner and perennial contender for the award shouldered the load of the Cleveland Indians, tossing 34.1 innings in a month’s time. He also spent a month on the disabled list for a strained lower back, which to some degree could be attributed to the workload.
Indians President Chris Antonetti also noted that after pitching a Sunday night game, Kluber arrived in Miami around 4 a.m. on Monday morning.
“You take the totality of those factors in consideration, it didn’t make sense for him to pitch in the game,” Antonetti said.
Kluber has consistently been lauded throughout his career for the work he puts in during his days in between starts, and the ace has always had one goal in mind.
“The competitive spirit in all of us probably wants to get out there and pitch,” he said. “But I think at the same time, you kind of have to look at a bigger picture. My job is to pitch for the Indians, not to pitch for the American League All-Star team.
“As fun as it would’ve been, I think that using better judgement was probably to try to set myself up to stay healthy for the second half of the season. Hopefully, beyond.”
So for once, Corey Kluber will get a chance to rest to a degree. The Indians’ number one starter is scheduled to start the second game of the team’s west coast trip to Oakland, and will still be going through his routine while in Miami.
The time off will be enough to rest his arm as much as he would between any other pair of starts, but Kluber says rest is not really a part of All-Star week, but the mental aspect is more at ease.
“It’s definitely a busy couple of days regardless,” he said. “I think Tuesday especially… it almost turns into a little bit more of relaxed mindset, I guess. I don’t have to necessarily get prepared to go out there and pitch. I don’t have to go in the weight room and get ready, go in the training room and get ready, I’ll just kind of be able to enjoy it.”
Kluber also took time to reflect on his second selection to the All-Star game. Upon being dealt to the Indians, scouts called him a “fringe number five starter,” and now he stands as one of the best in the game.
“I think that it’s kind of far-fetched I guess to think back to where I would’ve… a handful of years ago to imagine making my second All-Star team,” he said. “It’s not anything that I take for granted. I think it’s really just maybe in a way I think it’s a little bit of a validation, made it last year and now you kind of made it again. It’s not a kind of a fluke type thing, I guess.”