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Kluber's next start could be pushed back

Despite ankle injury Friday, ace still hopes to pitch Wednesday
MLB.com @MLBastian

KANSAS CITY -- Corey Kluber thinks he can make his next scheduled start for the Indians. The team's medical staff, however, believes he might need to be pushed back a couple days. Both sides will have more clarity one way or the other when the ace attempts to throw a bullpen session Sunday.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Royals, Indians manager Terry Francona said Kluber still had some stiffness in his right ankle after rolling it during the sixth inning of Friday's 10-1 win at Kauffman Stadium. If Kluber is unable to work comfortably off the mound Sunday in his bullpen session, Francona said the pitcher likely will be given a few extra days to recover before making his next turn.

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KANSAS CITY -- Corey Kluber thinks he can make his next scheduled start for the Indians. The team's medical staff, however, believes he might need to be pushed back a couple days. Both sides will have more clarity one way or the other when the ace attempts to throw a bullpen session Sunday.

Prior to Saturday's game against the Royals, Indians manager Terry Francona said Kluber still had some stiffness in his right ankle after rolling it during the sixth inning of Friday's 10-1 win at Kauffman Stadium. If Kluber is unable to work comfortably off the mound Sunday in his bullpen session, Francona said the pitcher likely will be given a few extra days to recover before making his next turn.

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"I think that's probably the worst-case scenario. It'll all depend on what he's able to do tomorrow," Francona said. "He needs to start preparing for his start. I think sometimes, if you can't prepare for it, it probably behooves us to move him back a little and let him have a normal five-day cycle."

As things stand, Kluber's next scheduled outing would be on Wednesday against the Red Sox.

Kluber sustained a mild right ankle sprain while running off the mound to cover first base. The right-hander initially stayed in for one more batter, then exited after he still looked to be favoring the foot while backing up third base on a single by Melky Cabrera.

Video: CLE@TB: Kluber fans nine over seven strong innings

"Running didn't feel great," Kluber said after his start. "It was probably pretty obvious to Tito [Francona] and [head athletic trainer James Quinlan] the way I went over to back up third base, that it probably didn't feel that good. I think they were just probably smarter than me in the decision."

In 21 starts this season, Kluber has gone 12-3 with a 2.67 ERA and 196 strikeouts against 31 walks in 145 innings.

"He anchors this whole thing for us," Indians outfielder Jay Bruce said. "We obviously need him. He's a big part of our team, and if he does have to miss any time -- which I hope he doesn't -- we'll pick up the slack."

Other injury updates

• Right-hander Josh Tomlin (10-day DL, left hamstring) threw 40-plus pitches in a bullpen session with no problems Friday in Kansas City. The pitcher is now slated to work a few innings against hitters in a simulated-game setting Monday in Cleveland. Francona said the Indians will activate Tomlin when he is deemed fully ready, even if that comes before the Sept. 1 roster expansion.

Video: CIN@CLE: Tomlin K's six over six solid innings

"The intensity was good," Tomlin said of his mound workout at Kauffman Stadium, "It was probably more than what it would be in between starts. [Given] that I haven't had a start in a few weeks now, it was time to kind of air it out and see how I felt. I felt great."

• Outfielder Michael Brantley (10-day DL, right ankle) remains in a walking boot most of the time but has been able to mix in some light baseball activities recently, according to Francona. The manager said the team will probably be able to give a more detailed update on Brantley's status during the upcoming homestand.

"We need him so bad that rushing him is not good," said Francona, who has stayed away from giving a timetable for Brantley's return. "We need to let him come back and have a chance to be himself, because when he is, he's one of the best players there is."

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.

Cleveland Indians, Corey Kluber