Corey Kluber has missed the majority of the last two seasons due to various injuries, but he expects to be a reliable contributor to the Yankees this season after agreeing to a one-year deal worth $11 million.
Speaking Thursday via Zoom during his introductory news conference, Kluber wouldn’t touch on whether he feels he can again reach the level of being an ace, but said he believes his injury issues to be fully behind him.
Corey Kluber is making his debut in the #YankeesZoomRoom.
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“I consider myself to be healthy at this point,” Kluber said. “I’m not rehabbing anything or tending to any issues with anything lingering or anything like that. I’m at basically a normal stage in my offseason right now, which is a good feeling to be at — kind of get out of the rehab mode and just kind of try to get ready for a season.”
Kluber, whose market was robust after a showcase for interested teams where he impressed, said his familiarity with Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake and director of player health and performance Eric Cressey was a plus.
And when it comes to performing for the Yanks after two years on the sidelines, Kluber said the toughest thing to conquer will be the mental side of things.
“Honestly, I think that it’s probably more of overcoming the mental aspect of it as opposed to the physical. … Getting out of that rehab mindset where you’re trying to work through things or feel for things and that sort of stuff,” Kluber said. “Just get to the point where I’m trying to execute pitches.”
When asked if he could again return to being an ace-level pitcher or hurling 200 innings, Kluber wouldn’t set any goals for himself. He simply wants to be a consistent arm in a rotation that will include Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
“I do think that I expect myself to be consistent, be reliable, like you said,” Kluber explained. “That’s the expectation that I have for myself. That’s the expectation the team has for me — I think we aligned on that. Like I said, I think it’s the day-to-day process that allows those things to fall into place.”