Ace pitcher Corey Kluber's season could be over after just one inning of work for the Texas Rangers.
Kluber, a two-time American League Cy Young Trophy winner, suffered a torn small muscle in his right shoulder.
The injury won't require surgery, but even in the best-case scenario in this shortened season, Kluber won't pitch for the next four weeks, after which his health will be reassessed.
Jon Daniels, president and general manager of Rangers, has made no secret of the fact that this is a huge blow to his training.
Daniels said Monday that a magnetic resonance imaging scan revealed a grade 2 tear. The 34-year-old right-handed gunner will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection this week.
After shutting out the Colorado Rockies in the first inning Sunday, Kluber left the game with stiffness behind his shoulder. It was his first Major League start since May 1, 2019, when he suffered a broken right forearm after being hit with a sharp blow. During his rehabilitation last summer, he injured his right side.
"Considering the length of time (before the reassessment), the nature of the 60-game schedule and everything that follows, the deadline is not in our favor," Daniels said.
“We're going to give him his rest period. Then, if he's recovered or if the injury has healed to the point where he can start throwing again, he will do so with the possibility of being ready for the end of the season. If so, it will likely be as a reliever, given the time required for a starter to regain form. "
The Rangers did not perform any maneuvers in their formation on Monday as they were enjoying a day off. However, Kluber's name will be placed on the injured list.
Daniels said Kolby Allard, a young left-hander who is already in the 30-man squad after nine starts as a rookie last year, will replace Kluber in the starting rotation.
The Rangers acquired Kluber in a trade with the Indians in December, to add to a rotation that already included star left-hander Mike Minor and powerful veteran Lance Lynn.
Kluber has been the starting pitcher in the Indians' opener for each of the past five seasons. During this period of time, he proved to be one of the most dominant and consistent pitchers in all of baseball.
Prior to getting injured last season, he won 20 games in 2018 and had accumulated at least 203 innings of work and 222 strikeouts each year between 2014 and 2018. He won the Cy Young in 2014 and 2017.
Kluber spent nine seasons with the Indians and manager Terry Francona has texted him good wishes and support.