In his second and evidently last rehab game with the Somerset Patriots, New York Yankees infielder Gio Urshela went 1-for-4 with a run scored, a strikeout and a hit by pitch that caused some concern in his last plate appearance of the game.
After playing just five innings in the field on the road in Altoona on Sunday, Urshela played all nine at third base in Tuesday night’s 6-2 win over the Akron Aeros, and said afterwards, “I feel like I’m ready, I feel like I’m healthy and ready to go back to the Yankees.”
He said he physically feels “really good,” and that the plan is for him to travel tomorrow and get activated in the big leagues on Thursday. How exciting is it for him to get back and re-join one of the hottest teams in the big leagues right now?
“Really exciting,” he said. “I want to get back to play, and I feel really good.”
So too, apparently, did Corey Kluber, who was not available to speak with the media after an outing in which he got sharper as it went on; the two-time Cy Young Award winner spun 3 2/3 innings at TD Bank Ballpark in his second start with the club, allowing two earned runs on a walk and five hits while striking out four. He had retired seven consecutive batters before allowing a single to No. 9 hitter Victor Nova, which, combined with him hitting his pitch count of 60 (39 strikes), ultimately knocked him out of the game.
Pitching coach Daniel Moskos was pleased with Kluber’s outing, saying it was “good” and that it was “obviously an improvement over his last time out.”
“He was just kind of getting his feet wet, getting back into the swing of things,” said Moskos of the first outing. “(Tonight), there were a couple ground balls with eyes here and there, but I thought he executed really well and was living in the parts of the zone that he needs to live in. I think he’ll just continue to get sharper the more that he gets back into his routine and builds up his pitch count, and that rhythm; that mid-season form that you have to go re-find after having that long of a time period off.”
For a little while, it seemed as though Kluber’s outing on Tuesday night wouldn’t look much different from a nightmarish debut with the team, one in which he allowed five runs in just an inning and a third of work. What changed?
“I just think he started to settle in,” Moskos said. “Every now and then, I can understand if a rehab guy comes out and maybe doesn’t have the same adrenaline but, as soon as you back into the flow of the game, you get right back to your normal self.”
Physically, Moskos said he checked in with Kluber every inning, and says Kluber told him he was feeling good and feeling strong.