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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Former star Cleveland pitcher moved to bullpen after rough start with new team

BOSTON – Former Cleveland pitching ace Corey Kluber has been moved from the Boston Red Sox starting rotation to the bullpen, manager Alex Cora announced Wednesday.

Kluber, 37, signed a $10 million, one-year contract with the Red Sox this past off-season, but has underperformed through the first two months of the season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has a 6.26 ERA in nine starts, allowing 46 hits and 11 home runs in 41.2 innings pitched. The veteran pitcher has also struggled with his command, allowing 3.9 walks per nine innings after posting a league-leading 1.2 stat last season with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Kluber took accountability for his early season struggles ahead of the team’s game against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday.

“There’s no denying if you look at the body of work to this point in time, it hasn’t been to the standard I expect out of myself or obviously I’m sure what the team expected out of me,” Kluber said at Angel Stadium on Wednesday, according to MassLive. “There’s no sense in dwelling on it and feeling sorry for myself. The only way I’m going to improve and fix things is to come with a good attitude, try to get better each and every day, and that’s what I’ve been doing and I’m going to keep doing.

“It’s a change in role but at the end of the day, pitching is still the same,” Kluber added. “So we’ve got to continue working on finding ways to improve and ways to get better.”

Despite Kluber’s rough start, the Red Sox front office signaled support and belief in the three-time All-Star’s ability to bounce back to form.

“We know the history,” Red Sox General Manager Brian O’Halloran said Wednesday. “We know what he can do. Obviously, he’s had his struggles so far this year and ultimately we have to do what’s best for the team. Corey has been great about that as well and expect him to contribute out of the bullpen.

“I think a veteran guy like him and someone with as much success as he has had and the ability that he has, he could be one adjustment away from finding it and we expect that he will,” O’Halloran added. “But he’s struggled a bit with command and ultimately this is the decision for now, and hopefully he can right the ship and contribute out of the pen.”

Kluber, in his 13th MLB season, spent the first nine years of his career with Cleveland from 2011 to 2019, winning the Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017. He finished his Guardians tenure with a 98-58 record and 3.16 ERA in 208 games pitched, including 203 starts. He recorded 1,461 strikeouts (ranking third in team history) in 1,341.2 innings pitched, 17 complete games, seven shutouts, and a 1.09 WHIP (second-best in team history).

RELATED: Corey Kluber’s demeanor, dominance made him memorable in Cleveland: Podcast

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