Indians’ Kluber, Red Sox’s Pomeranz shrug off injuries
CLEVELAND — Corey Kluber has been the foundation of the Cleveland Indians’ rotation the past four years, and Wednesday night, he will be counted on to be an ace once again.
A day after fellow starter Danny Salazar and star reliever Andrew Miller were both placed on the disabled list, Kluber will take the mound for the Indians in the third game of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox.
The teams split the first two games of the series.
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The mound opponent for Kluber (12-3, 2.67 ERA) will be Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz, a former Cleveland first-round draft pick. Pomeranz (12-4, 3.31) was selected by the Indians with the fifth overall selection in 2010.
Kluber and Pomeranz both left their most recent start because of an injury, yet neither is missing a turn in the rotation.
Kluber’s status for Wednesday was up in the air for a couple of days after he came out in the sixth inning at Kansas City on Friday due to a sprained right ankle.
However, the ankle has improved enough so that Kluber can make a start for Cleveland’s banged-up rotation. In addition to Salazar, right-hander Josh Tomlin (hamstring) is also on the DL.
Pomeranz exited his Friday start against the New York Yankees after 3 1/3 innings due to back spasms, but he was ruled ready for Wednesday after a Monday bullpen session.
Kluber will be facing Boston for the first time since last year’s American League Division Series, which the Indians swept in three games. In Game 2, Kluber was the winning pitcher during a 6-0 Cleveland victory. He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out seven.
However, Kluber’s career record vs. the Red Sox in nine appearances, eight starts, is 2-3 with a 4.78 ERA.
Kluber missed the month of May due to a strained lower back. In 15 starts since coming off the DL, he has been almost unbeatable: 9-1 with a 1.84 ERA while holding opposing teams to a .173 batting average. In those 15 starts, Kluber has averaged 13 strikeouts per nine innings.
Kluber will be backed up by a short-handed bullpen, missing its best reliever in Miller, who was placed on the DL with right knee patellar tendinitis, a condition that caused him to spend two weeks on the DL earlier this month.
“What he has is most often found in NBA players,” manager Terry Francona said, “so our medical people are reaching out to the Cavs on how they treat it. The best thing for it is rest, but we want to see if we can be proactive with his rehab.”
Pomeranz never pitched in a regular-season game for Cleveland. He was included in the package of prospects the Indians traded to the Colorado Rockies in 2011 for Ubaldo Jimenez.
Pomeranz is having a career year for the Red Sox. He hasn’t lost a game since June 11, going 6-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his past 12 starts. In six career appearances, one start, against the Indians, he is 1-0 with a 2.53 ERA.
The Red Sox will be without center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., who flew back to Boston to get an MRI on his left thumb. Bradley injured the thumb during a headfirst slide into home plate in the seventh inning Tuesday.
“The X-rays were negative, but we’re going to send him back to Boston … for further testing,” manager John Farrell said. “He’ll be back here (Wednesday), but he won’t play.”