Corey Kluber on Yankees debut: 'It was fun to go out there and compete'

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Alex Smith
·2 min read
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Corey Kluber Yankees pinstripes debut
Corey Kluber Yankees pinstripes debut

Saturday’s game wasn’t just Corey Kluber’s debut in Yankees pinstripes, but it was also his first time pitching multiple innings in a major league game since the 2019 season.

After pitching just one inning with the Texas Rangers in 2020 before an arm injury shut him down for the rest of the season, Kluber gave the Yankees’ 4.0 innings of work, allowing two earned runs on five hits, striking out five.

He did have some control issues as he knocked off the rust, as he walked three, hit a batter, and uncorked a wild pitch. But he also induced two double play balls to help get him out of some jams, and he was ultimately effective enough to help the Yankees on their way to a 5-3 win.

“It was fun to get back out there and have a chance to compete with the boys,” Kluber said afterwards. “I think that all in all I made pitched when I needed to. I think there were a couple of situations where I fell behind some guys and wasn’t able to work my way back in the count. Ultimately one of them ended up scoring which was frustrating, but for the most part when there was traffic out there, I was able to make pitches.”

For the two-time Cy Young winner, helping the Yankees get a win in his debut was obviously a great start to his tenure in the Bronx. But it was also nice just to be able to compete at the major league level once again.

“It was fun to go out there and compete,” Kluber said. “Obviously, there were a couple of situations where the guys turned some big double plays behind me to get rid of some of that traffic. But more than anything, to be out there competing was fun. It was fun to have fans back in the stands. Obviously, winning makes it a lot better."

It was just start No.1 for Kluber on the young season, but he already feels like a part of the Yankees’ locker room as he begins his 11th season in the bigs.

“I feel like I’m part of the team in that clubhouse,” Kluber said. “I think that having a chance to go out there and compete with my teammates – when you have 26 guys all trying to go out there and win a ballgame, that’s a fun thing to be a part of.”