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Corey Kluber not distracted by team hijinks during dugout interview

Big League Stew

No more than a few seconds into Corey Kluber's five-minute dugout interview with Cleveland Indians' TV on Tuesday night, the assault by teammates began.  A few sunflower seeds were the first salvo.

"Yep, it's started," Kluber said.

After a rough start for Kluber, he's been one of the better starting pitchers in the American League over his past six starts, posting a 2.34 ERA. In that span, he has 55 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. But there would be no peace for Kluber on his night off as he tried to give the team's perspective of a big victory against the Detroit Tigers the day before. Like a staring contest, only with one opponent off-camera, the idea was to get Kluber to blink first. He never did.

More seeds came. And still more, in a rain-like shower.

"Uh huh," the Indians broadcaster said, obviously interested more in what Kluber could endure than what he was saying.

After the broadcast cut away for an at-bat by Carlos Santana, the camera returned to Kluber, who was covered with a yellow raincoat to protect him from the sunflower shower. It was like a Saturday Night Live sketch.

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Next, the shower became wet. Hopefully it was water. Undaunted, Kluber continued explaining how throwing all of the pitches in his arsenal for strikes is helpful, and the broadcast cut away for another shot of the game. That meant that, once we saw Kluber again, something else absurd would be in the scene. Sure enough:

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Baby powder? Rosin? Gun powder? Were they about to light him on fire?

"You look like a powdered sugar doughnut right there," the Indians booth said.

He was talking about pitching but Kluber said something about sticking with your strengths and "don't let them take you out of your game plan." That's how Kluber rolls on the mound and in the dugout during an interview. A key, he said, was learning from Justin Masterson's memorable interview in 2013 when teammates pulled a similar prank.

Kluber might have been one of the guys throwing stuff at Masterson last year, come to think of it.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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