Indians’ Kluber shut down 2 weeks with abdominal strain

CLEVELAND (AP) — Corey Kluber’s comeback has been sidetracked.

The Cleveland Indians ace will be shut down for two weeks with an abdominal strain, an injury he sustained as he was rehabbing from a broken arm.

Kluber was pulled from a minor league outing for Triple-A Columbus at Charlotte on Sunday after one scoreless inning because of abdominal tightness. It was his third rehab start as he tries to return from the injury, and he was scheduled to throw 80-85 pitches. If everything had gone well, it was possible he could have rejoined the Indians’ rotation this week or soon after.

Instead, he returned to Cleveland, and the team said imaging tests confirmed the strain.

“When he came out after the first inning and felt something, fortunately he didn’t go back out. He could have really made it worse,” manager Terry Francona said Tuesday in New York before the Indians played the Mets.

Kluber won’t throw for two weeks before he’s re-examined and a plan is formulated. The two-time Cy Young Award winner hopes to be part of Cleveland’s playoff push.

Francona said Kluber was examined Monday by Indians head team physician Mark Schickendantz and also was scheduled to see team physician Jason Genin “to see if there’s anything they feel they can do to maybe speed it up.”

But the manager said at this point it wouldn’t be fair to speculate about the likelihood of Kluber returning in time to make an impact this season.

“He’s going to be re-evaluated after two weeks to see where he is, what he’s able to do,” Francona explained.

Cleveland began the night two games behind first-place Minnesota in AL Central and leading the wild-card standings.

Kluber hasn’t pitched for the three-time defending AL Central champions since May 1. He was struck by a line drive at Miami and fractured his ulna.

The right-hander went 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA during the regular season in 2018, but struggled in the playoffs for the second straight year. He won the AL Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017.