It wasn't that long ago Corey Kluber was one of the best pitchers in baseball before injuries derailed him, and New York Yankees fans will be relieved to hear he is back on course heading into the 2021 campaign.
"I consider myself to be healthy at this point. I'm not rehabbing anything or tending to any issues with anything lingering or anything like that," the right-hander said Thursday, per the Associated Press. "I'm basically at a normal stage of my offseason right now."
He was a two-time American League Cy Young winner and three-time All-Star who finished with an ERA of 3.49 or lower in five straight seasons from 2014 to 2018. He posted an ERA below 3.00 three times in that span and helped lead Cleveland to an appearance in the 2016 World Series.
However, he made just seven starts in 2019 before being hit by a comeback line drive during a May game against the Miami Marlins.
Kluber posted a 5.80 ERA in those seven starts and then pitched just one inning in 2020 because of a shoulder injury that did not require surgery.
He is not the only high-risk, high-reward acquisition for the Yankees rotation this offseason, as New York also brought in Jameson Taillon in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Taillon finished the 2018 season with a 3.20 ERA but missed much of the 2019 campaign and all of the 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
If they can both return to form, the Yankees will be on the shortlist of realistic championship contenders.