Corey Kluber no longer is a Red Sox starting pitcher, but that doesn’t mean the veteran right-hander can’t be a valuable asset for Boston.
Prior to Wednesday’s road loss to the Los Angeles Angels, Red Sox manager Alex Cora announced Kluber will shift to the bullpen with Garrett Whitlock set to return from injury this weekend. Kluber, Boston’s Opening Day starter, was the clear odd man out, as his 2-6 record and 6.26 ERA didn’t warrant a spot in the rotation.
Kluber understood the club’s decision and seems to be embracing his new role with the Red Sox. In fact, the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner made immediate plans to speak with two Boston teammates who understand what he’s about to take on.
“There’s definitely things routine-wise that will be a little bit different,” Kluber told reporters, per MassLive. “But I think I’ll have conversations with guys like Tanner (Houck) and Garrett who have bounced back and forth a little bit before.”
Chopping it up with both Houck and Whitlock would be worthwhile for Kluber, as they previously served different roles in the Boston bullpen. The third-year pro has a fair amount of experience in high-leverage relief situations, while Houck was utilized more as a long man.
Kluber’s first opportunity to receive work out of the ‘pen will be Friday when the Red Sox open a three-game series with the Diamondbacks in Arizona.