Free agent Corey Kluber, the two-time Cy Young Award winner who has been derailed by injuries over the past two years, is on schedule for a normal spring training and will throw for interested suitors next week.
Kluber will conduct a 30-pitch bullpen on the morning of Jan. 13 at Cressey Sports Performance in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, where the 34-year-old right-hander has spent half his offseason, his agent, B.B. Abbott of Jet Sports Management, told ESPN on Monday.
Kluber established himself among the game's most dominant starting pitchers while with the Cleveland Indians from 2014 to 2018, winning 83 games, posting a 2.85 ERA and averaging 218 innings per season.
But he suffered a fractured ulna bone in his right arm on a comebacker in early May 2019, then strained his oblique as he neared a return in late August.
The Texas Rangers traded for him four months later, then watched him suffer a season-ending strain of his teres major muscle -- near his right shoulder -- 18 pitches into his Rangers debut on July 26, 2020.
The Rangers declined their $18 million option on Kluber's contract near the end of October. Kluber was cleared to resume throwing shortly thereafter and has since thrown three bullpen sessions, Abbott said. He is expected to throw off the mound once more and receive a final MRI within the next nine days.
Kluber's showcase comes amid a slow-moving offseason, particularly for pitchers. Of the 30 starters who made up Kiley McDaniel's top 120 free agents in early December, only seven have committed to teams for 2021 -- two of whom did so by accepting the qualifying offer.
In a time when teams are especially concerned about pitcher workloads coming off a shortened season and owners are hesitant to spend amid lingering uncertainty over fans attending games, Kluber can provide an established track record at a discount rate. The risk, however, is obvious -- Kluber has accumulated only 36⅔ innings over the past two years.