KANSAS CITY -- Indians ace Corey Kluber took a critical step forward on Sunday morning and remains on target to start against the Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.In the hours leading up to Cleveland's game with the Royals, Kluber took the mound in the
KANSAS CITY -- Indians ace Corey Kluber took a critical step forward on Sunday morning and remains on target to start against the Red Sox in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.
In the hours leading up to Cleveland's game with the Royals, Kluber took the mound in the visitors' bullpen at Kauffman Stadium and logged 20 pitches. It was a brief mound session, but an important one as the leader of the Tribe's rotation works his way back from a mild quadriceps strain.
"It went good," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "He looks good. Basically, we did all windup, just so he was using his legs, just to make sure [he didn't feel anything]."
Now that Kluber has passed that test, he is scheduled to throw a more intense bullpen session on Tuesday in preparation for his Friday meeting with the Red Sox. Due to the recent health issue, Cleveland opted to go with Kluber in Game 2, because that would put him on a normal five-day program for a Game 5 start, if necessary.
The Indians announced on Saturday night that right-hander Trevor Bauer will start in Game 1 on Thursday and Josh Tomlin will get the nod for Game 3 on Oct. 9. Should the ALDS matchup with Boston extend to a Game 4, Cleveland felt confident that Bauer could return on three days' rest to make that start.
Callaway once again pointed out that Bauer pitched on short rest on July 1, when he worked five shutout innings to close out a 2-1, 19-inning win in Toronto.
"Obviously, he's done it," Callaway said. "He did it in that Toronto game, that extra-inning game. He's very comfortable doing it, and I think the way he's always gone about his business -- like I'm sure he's told you guys -- he wants to pitch in every game. So, I'm pretty confident he can throw in two of the four [games]."
Kluber went 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 227 strikeouts in 215 innings this season, putting the right-hander in contention for the American League Cy Young Award. During Monday's division-clinching win over the Tigers, though, Kluber exited with the quadriceps injury after four innings.
That did not stop Kluber from lobbying to pitch Game 1 of the ALDS.
"He wanted Games 1 and 4," Callaway said. "But, we kind of felt that, hey, we're not trying to just win Game 4. We want to win the series. We feel like this probably gives us the best chance to do that, given where he's at currently. Having [him take] 10 days off, pitch and then come back on three days' rest and pitch again can be a little bit taxing.
"We wanted to make sure we're giving ourselves the best chance to move on to the next series."
Salazar still in ALDS roster mix
Right-hander Danny Salazar took a day off throwing off a mound on Sunday, but he may be cleared to throw in a simulated game on Monday. The Indians want to see how the righty feels on Monday morning before slotting in that mound workout. Callaway said that Salazar, who has been out with a forearm injury since Sept. 9, is still very much in the hunt for a spot on the ALDS roster as a reliever.
"He's still progressing, bouncing back pretty good," Callaway said. "I think at this point it's still realistic [for Salazar to make the ALDS roster]. We probably have to see what the intensity's like in whatever he does next to really make that determination."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast.