Indians still cautious about Kluber's hamstring

Indians still cautious about Kluber's hamstring

CLEVELAND -- The Indians remain in a holding pattern when it comes to Corey Kluber's status.

On Saturday, Kluber threw in a long-toss session and worked through conditioning and agility drills, testing the right hamstring that has kept him out of the rotation for the past two weeks. Kluber continues to show incremental improvement, but Cleveland is not ready to announce when the ace might make his next start.

"Obviously, the large portion of it is Klubes telling us how he feels," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We told Klubes, 'Hey, when you're ready to pitch, we don't want to slow you down. But, we also don't want to put you out there when you're not ready, because that's not fair to anybody.'

"He understands that, and there's so much trust there with him that we'll just continue to talk to him every day and kind of let him update us."

Due to rainouts on Friday and Saturday against the Tigers -- one of the games will be made up as part of a traditional doubleheader on Sunday -- the Indians will need a starter for Thursday's home game against the Royals. Francona would not say whether Kluber was a possibility for when Cleveland needs an extra arm.

"We'll pitch him when it makes sense," Francona said. "We'll see. We're not going to do something that we shouldn't. If he's ready, that's one thing. You can bet, if he pitches, he's ready."

Kluber tweaked his hamstring while running in conditioning drills during the Indians' Aug. 31-Sept. 2 series in Toronto, forcing him to miss his scheduled start on Sept. 4. He stayed in Cleveland during the team's recent trips to Detroit and Chicago to work through his rehab program, which included a bullpen session on Friday afternoon.

In 28 starts (200 1/3 innings) this season, the reigning American League Cy Young Award winner is 8-13 with a 3.41 ERA, 219 strikeouts and 38 walks. Since beginning the season 0-5 with a 5.04 ERA, he has gone 8-8 with a 2.95 ERA.

"He still feels it a little bit," Francona said of Kluber's hamstring injury on Saturday. "So, we're just going to continue to monitor it, like we've said. Depending on [how he feels], tomorrow might be a down day -- a recoup day. We'll see."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.