CLEVELAND -- With the struggles that the Indians' starting rotation has gone through this season, it is a great sign that ace Corey Kluber pitched well in his first rehab start on Friday for Double-A Akron.
After missing more than three weeks while on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back injury, Kluber pitched five scoreless innings and got the win in the RubberDucks' 10-0 victory. On 47 pitches (33 strikes), Kluber only allowed one hit and did not issue a walk, while recording one strikeout. He set down the final 14 batters he faced.
"I think everything went real well," Indians manager Terry Francona said after a 6-4 loss to the Royals on Friday night. "He said he felt good, and I think he went through 15 pitches afterwards in the bullpen. So we'll sit down with him tomorrow and kind of see what the next step should be."
In a video posted on the RubberDucks' Twitter account, Kluber told reporters that he felt good and was able to get into a groove during his five-inning outing.
"Obviously, I didn't throw very many pitches, but what I did, I felt good getting up and down four or five times," Kluber said.
Kluber was initially scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Columbus on Thursday night, but the game was postponed due to rain.
The right-hander was placed on the DL on May 3 after leaving a start against the Tigers the previous night with discomfort in his lower back. In six starts this season, Kluber is 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings.
Kluber acknowledged that it is frustrating not being able to pitch with the Indians, but said that he has to work his way back to being 100 percent.
"Nobody wants to miss time," Kluber said. "It is tough just watching and not being able to try to contribute to the team winning games. But I think that obviously there is a process to it, and this is another step along the way."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.