Kluber ready to begin rehab assignment

Kluber ready to begin rehab assignment

CINCINNATI -- Corey Kluber is one step closer to returning to the rotation. The Tribe ace completed another bullpen session with no issues on Monday in Cleveland and is on target to make a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Columbus.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said that the goal is to have Kluber (on the 10-day disabled list with a lower-back issue) log around five innings or 70 to 75 pitches in his start on Thursday with the Clippers. If everything goes according to plan, Kluber would then meet with manager Terry Francona, Callaway and the team's medical staff to determine if being activated is the next step.

"We don't want this recurring," Callaway said prior to Monday's game against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. "We need our ace out there every day, and we think we went with the right approach."

With Kluber on the shelf since May 3, right-hander Mike Clevinger has filled in admirably in the rotation. In four appearances, including three starts, Clevinger has turned in a 1.56 ERA with 19 strikeouts, 11 walks and six hits allowed in 17 1/3 innings.

"You try to turn something that could be a negative into a positive," Francona said. "You don't ever want to be without Klube, but Clev making these starts, one, it's been good for us, but it's been really good for him. I think he's learning that, if he throws the ball where he wants to, he's going to have success."

Clevinger flirts with a no-no

Salazar focusing on routine

In recent conversations with Danny Salazar, Callaway has reminded the struggling starter that it will take time for his statistics to return to the usual level. In the meantime, he wants Salazar to concentrate more effectively on his between-starts routine.

"We've got to do some things to get his confidence back," Callaway said of Salazar, who has a 5.55 ERA through nine starts. "I think it's focusing on the little things -- the way he plays catch, the way he prepares for the game. Those are some of the things we've talked about. Making sure that he puts himself in a spot when he gets on the mound that he has more confidence.

"And not focusing on the numbers is one of the big keys. I told him, 'It's not going to bring [your] numbers down very quickly, so let's focus on winning for the team, and only for the team, and going out there and competing.'"

Carrasco set for Tuesday

Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who exited his outing on May 15 with tightness in his left pectoral muscle, is feeling good and is on track to start on Tuesday against the Reds.

Said Callaway: "He's in a really good spot. He feels great. His bullpen was outstanding the other day. We're going to lean on him a lot the rest of the season, so a couple extra days doesn't really hurt if you can get them."

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 Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.