ARLINGTON -- Corey Kluber is done with Summer Camp. That part is behind him along with Spring Training and the long rehabilitation process he went through after suffering a fractured right forearm last season.
Next up for Kluber is facing the Rockies on Sunday at Globe Life Field. It will be his first Major League start since May 1 with the Indians.
"I would imagine that once, you know, the game starts, it'll feel pretty normal to me," Kluber said. "I think that that's kind of the exciting part of it, getting a chance to go out there and compete against guys again. You know when it means something, when you're injured, that's the part that you miss the most, is being out there with teammates, competing, trying to win. I think that once I get back into that setting, I think it'll feel pretty normal to me."
Kluber pitched in seven games for the Indians and was 2-3 with a 5.80 ERA while struggling with his mechanics. His season came to an end on May 1, 2019, when he was hit by a line drive while pitching against the Marlins. A strained oblique muscle in August wrecked any chance of pitching for Cleveland in September or the postseason.
But this is a guy who won 20 games in 2018 and is a two-time American League Cy Young Award winner. If he is healthy and he has fixed whatever mechanical issues were there last season, the Rangers feel Kluber can still be one of the best pitchers in the Majors.
"I don't look at it as comparing where I'm at to previous years or last year," Kluber said. "I'm in a good spot with everything that I'm doing. I feel good both physically and mentally. I think that's what's going to allow me to go out there and have success.
"I am not trying to achieve a certain threshold that I may or may not have gotten to in the past. I think focusing on where I'm at right now and doing the best with what I have to work with right now is the way I approach it."
Kluber pitched in a simulated game on Monday. He went six innings and allowed two runs on three hits, no walks and eight strikeouts. Overall, he has pitched 22 2/3 innings in Summer Camp, allowing six runs on 16 hits and four walks with 28 strikeouts.
"I think things have gone smoothly here. I know that's not the case with every team," Kluber said. "But this is just Step 1. Getting to Opening Day doesn't mean we can let our guard down. We have a plan in place, whether it's going on the road or protocols, and we have to stick with that."
Calhoun headed for Opening Day
Outfielder Willie Calhoun, who is dealing with a strained right hip flexor, took five at-bats in the simulated game Monday and continues to show the Rangers he will be ready for Opening Day.
"I think he will be," manager Chris Woodward said. "I think he's forced our hand in that. I don't know if he's going to be ready to play left field or even DH Opening Day. He may be shortly after that though. We kind of have him penciled in for Game 2 to be ready. We want to make sure he's fully healthy before we do anything."
That would entail running the bases at full speed. Calhoun has not done that since the hip problem came up in an intrasquad game last Monday.
"We need to see him run the bases," Woodward said. "We need to see him run a little more. He feels good running right now. We need to see the intensity for a few days to make sure we're clear of that. That puts us on schedule for Day 2 or 3 to actually get him out there for a full game. He may be ready to pinch-hit or may even be ready to DH Game 1 or 2."
• Rangers officials said the club will continue to pay their Minor League players the $400 a week subsidy through the end of what would have been the 2020 Minor League regular season. The season would have ended on Sept. 7.
• Closer Jose Leclerc was among the pitchers who threw batting practice on Monday. Rookie outfielders Leody Taveras and Adolis Garcia both hit a home run off him.
• Right-hander Kyle Cody has been added to the 60-man player pool and has been assigned to the alternate training site. Cody is a hard-throwing right-hander who missed the past two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He was the Rangers' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2017 when he went 9-6 with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He also struck out 9.7 batters per nine innings over his 23 starts.