12/01/12 10:45 AM ET
Kluber has knee surgery, likely ready for spring
Indians right-hander expected to contend for rotation spot after recovery
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Kluber underwent a procedure to remove torn meniscus from his right knee on Friday at the Cleveland Clinic. The knee locked up on Kluber recently while he was playing with his young daughter in Jacksonville.
"Our expectation is he'll be able to pitch unrestricted by Opening Day," said Indians general manager Chris Antonetti. "We may have to modify some of his conditioning activities in Spring Training and stuff like that, just to accommodate the knee issue. But at this point, we expect him to be ready to come into Spring Training and compete for a spot."
The 26-year-old posted a 2-5 record and 5.14 ERA for the Tribe in 12 starts last season, though he submitted four quality starts in his last seven outings. Over his final nine appearances, Kluber logged a 4.20 ERA and tallied 43 strikeouts in 49 1/3 innings.
Kluber figures to challenge for a spot in the starting rotation in the spring. New manager Terry Francona has stressed the baseball cliche that states no club can ever have too much starting pitching. Beyond Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez in rotation slots, the Indians are expected to take long looks at Kluber and Zach McAllister when determining their five-man starting staff for 2013.
The Padres' fourth-round selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, Kluber joined the Indians as part of a 2010 trade that sent veteran right-hander Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals and outfielder Ryan Ludwick to San Diego from St. Louis.