Rangers starter Corey Kluber made his debut with the club on Sunday, but it was short lived. He departed the game after just one inning of work, citing shoulder pain. The news got worse on Monday. The Rangers said Kluber suffered a grade 2 tear of the teres major muscle in his right shoulder.
The former Cleveland ace won't need surgery, but the 34-year-old Kluber will be shut down for at least four weeks. The team said Kluber will undergo platelet-rich plasma therapy.
Given that there's only about eight weeks of season left and Kluber would then be need to build arm strength back up after not throwing for four weeks, the injury could very well end Kluber's season. If it doesn't, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Kluber would only be used as a reliever. It makes sense, since, again, Kluber would need to build back arm strength to even be able to throw an inning.
The Rangers acquired Kluber from Cleveland this past offseason for outfielder Delino DeShields and pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase. Clase went down in February with an injury and then later was popped for a PED suspension, so this trade seems cursed all around.
Kluber is a two-time Cy Young winner. In 2018, he was 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 222 strikeouts in 215 innings. He finished third in Cy Young voting that season and made his third All-Star Game. He only made seven starts last season before a line drive broke his arm, ending his season. Prior to the injury, however, he was struggling mightily, sporting a 5.80 ERA.
Especially now with the shoulder injury, teamed with his poor performance last season, there has to be concern Kluber's wear and tear over the years is catching up with him. From 2014-18, Kluber was one of the biggest workhorses in baseball. In those years, he logged 1,091 1/3 innings, trailing only Max Scherzer. Kluber added 45 1/3 playoff innings, too.
After this season, Kluber has an $18 million team option for 2021 that almost certainly won't be picked up. Kluber is set to enter free agency after two injury-littered years while heading to his age-35 season.