ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Corey Kluber’s Texas debut lasted just one inning.
The right-hander threw just 18 pitches against Colorado on Sunday before departing his first start in almost 15 months with shoulder tightness.
The Rangers, who acquired the two-time Cy Young Award winner in an offseason trade with Cleveland, said Kluber reported feeling the tightness in the first few pitches and it got worse as the inning progressed. He was examined by a team doctor and will be further evaluated Monday.
The 34-year-old Kluber was knocked out of his last start for the Indians on May 1, 2019, when his right forearm was broken by a comeback liner.
On Sunday, Kluber struck out leadoff hitter David Dahl and walked Trevor Story, who was thrown out trying to steal before Charlie Blackmon popped out. Kluber was replaced by left-hander Joe Palumbo.
Kluber didn’t speak to reporters after the Rockies’ 5-2 win. Manager Chris Woodward said there was no indication of trouble for Kluber after he warmed up. There was no update on Kluber’s condition after the game.
“He is a tough guy and has pitched a lot of innings in the majors,” Woodward said. “When he says something is related to his arm, we are concerned. Hopefully he comes in tomorrow and feels a little better, but we’ll see.”
Kluber’s five-year run as an opening-day starter ended with the former Cleveland ace starting the finale of the Rangers’ opening series in their new $1.2 billion retractable roof stadium.
The early departure was essentially the second time Kluber’s return was short-circuited since breaking his forearm. He was close to coming back last season when he sustained an oblique injury during a rehab start last August.
Going into the 2019 season, Kluber was on a five-season stretch as one of baseball’s best pitchers. He was a 20-game winner in 2018, and the AL Cy Young Award winner in 2014 and 2017. The three-time All-Star threw at least 203 innings with 222 strikeouts or more each season.
Before his Texas debut, Kluber made all 208 appearances and 203 starts with the Indians over nine seasons. He is two wins shy of 100 for his career.