CLEVELAND — A whirlwind four days for Corey Kluber began Thursday night as he took home honors for Best Professional Athlete at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.
Kluber will take part in some activities on Friday previewing Tribe Fest before receiving the AL Cy Young award on Saturday at the BBWAA Awards Dinner in New York. Kluber will round out the weekend back in Cleveland by appearing at Tribe Fest.
Kluber said he hasn’t picked out a spot yet where he will place the award, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a place.
"There have been moments where I’ve enjoyed it, but at the same time, it sounds kind of cheesy, but put it in the past and focus on next year," he said. "As cool as it was to win a Cy Young, I think winning a World Series would be a lot better."
Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 earned run average last season en route to being the franchise’s fourth Cy Young recipient. The right-hander was tied for first in the American League in wins and starts (34), second in strikeouts (269) and third in ERA and innings pitched (235 2/3).
With spring training four weeks away, Kluber has begun to throw more and will start to throw some bullpen sessions in a couple weeks. He admits the past couple weeks have been long because the season is getting closer.
"I think the team’s in a really good spot. Like Tito (manager Terry Francona) said we haven’t really had a glaring need for anything. A lot of the pieces are in place," Kluber said. "That’s exciting coming into the year knowing you pretty much have the same group you were with all last year, with the exception of a few additions we made."
Kluber is under team control through the 2018 season but when asked whether he has talked about an extension with the Indians, he said there have been none that he knows of.
Kluber added: "That’s not my job to worry about that, my job is to go out there and pitch. I have agents that can handle that stuff for me when the time comes. My objective is to get prepared to play this season."
Michael Brantley presented Kluber with the Professional Athlete of the Year award. Browns cornerback Joe Haden and Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving were also nominated.
"I know all the hard work he did last year and how focused he is. He sticks to the course and to watch him develop from when he first came up to now is phenomenal," Brantley said.
Thursday’s other winners were Mount Lake football player Kevin Burke (Collegiate Athlete of the Year), USA Women’s Hockey’s Kelli Stack (Amateur Athlete of the Year) and Hudson football’s Mitch Guadagni (High School Athlete of the Year).
Indians radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Huron’s Nick Lenyo was honored with the Courage Award presented by Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.
Lenyo, who is the starting safety and back-up quarterback for his freshman football team, is just over a year removed from being diagnosed with osteosarcoma and having his left distal tibia amputated. Francona presented Nick with the award.