DETROIT -- A mound visit is enough to elicit a steely glare from Corey Kluber. Given the durability and determination of their ace, the Indians know that the leader of their rotation does not want his current health issue to interfere with starting in the American League Division Series.
"He's not going to not make that start," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said on Thursday morning. "He'd be like Curt Schilling. He's going to go out there and pitch. It'll be fun to watch."
Kluber is done for the regular season due to a mild right quadriceps strain, but Cleveland is confident that the right-hander will be able to start in Game 1 (Oct. 6) or Game 2 (Oct. 7) of the ALDS. The timing of Kluber's return could be determined on whether the Indians believe he is capable of pitching on short rest, or whether Trevor Bauer is better suited for that scenario.
The starter used in Game 1 of the ALDS could be asked to pitch again on three days' rest for Game 4 (Oct. 10), if that contest becomes necessary. If a Game 5 (Oct. 12) were required, Cleveland's Game 1 starter would be able to work that game as part of a normal five-day routine.
Callaway has indicated in the past that both Kluber and Bauer are capable of pitching on short rest, but Kluber's minor injury has thrown a wrinkle into the situation.
"I think we need to see how he's feeling at the time and go from there," Callaway said. "The goal is to not just extend a series, it's to win one. We're going to put everybody in the best position to do that. We know how taxing coming back on three days' rest can be. If his groin or his quad is not going to allow him to do that, or give him the best chance to do that, then maybe we'll make a different decision."
In 32 starts this season, Kluber went 18-9 with a 3.14 ERA and 227 strikeouts and 57 walks in 215 innings. The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner is a contender for the annual accolade once again, but exiting Monday's start in Detroit after four innings was a sour end to his campaign.
The good news is that Kluber can continue to play catch, and a bullpen session should be in the plans in the near future.
"He is even starting to feel better," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It's only been a couple days, but it's just I think he needs some time to let this thing [heal]. That's what we want him to do. We don't want him to run out there and do anything he doesn't need to. So we'll let him get better and, in the meantime, he's pretty good about keeping an eye on getting his stuff done."
Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. 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.