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Corey Kluber looks ‘good’ in first taste of Yankees action

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TAMPA — Corey Kluber threw his first live batting practice of the spring at the Yankees’ minor league complex on Sunday, with Gary Sanchez behind the plate and Aaron Boone sounded pleased by what he saw.

The manager called the outing “good.”

“Obviously, much talked about,’’ Boone said of Kluber’s arrival on a one-year, $11 million deal after pitching just one inning over the past two seasons due to a fractured forearm in 2019 and a shoulder injury last year.

“He’s come in here having thrown live and even been more strenuous than [Sunday] was. It was good to get Gary with him in a live setting. Another good step forward in the process for him.”

The health of Kluber’s right arm is key to a rotation that is looking to support Gerrit Cole after losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and J.A. Happ to free agency during the offseason.


Aroldis Chapman unveiled a split-fingered fastball last year, but he used the pitch sparingly. Expect to see more of it this season.

“I believe it’s definitely a pitch for me,” Chapman said through an interpreter. “I feel that I’ve incorporated that pitch into my pitch mix.”

Corey Kluber signed with the Yankees this offseason.
Corey Kluber signed with the Yankees this offseason.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

He expects to use the splitter more than he has his changeup, which he throws “just a couple times here and there.”

“I definitely feel really good with it,” Chapman said of the splitter. “[It’s] definitely a weapon that’s going to be used in the future.”


Austin Wells was drafted by the Yankees last June and never got to play a game due to the pandemic, so he’s trying to take advantage as much as he can with being in camp early.

“I’ve been out over a year with remote training,’’ Wells said. “Any at-bat against any pitcher I get is beneficial to me.”

Wells is just one of the minor leaguers who lost as much as a season of development when the minor leagues were shut down last year.

Reese said running player development with no games has been “interesting.”

“It’s been a challenge,’’ Reese said. “It’s been tough. You throw the game plan away for a year and adjust on the fly.”

The Yankees opted to not have an instructional league last fall, with Reese saying the organization decided there was too much risk involved with COVID cases rising in Florida at the time and the Yankees not having their own hotel to house players safely.


Miguel Andujar isn’t the only position player due to report to camp this week with hopes of proving he can provide value at more than one position.

Boone also mentioned the recently signed Jay Bruce and Derek Dietrich, as well as Andrew Velazquez, the Fordham Prep product who is also on a minor league deal.

Dietrich can play second and third base, Bruce first and Velazquez short and they can all be used in corner-outfield positions.

“I feel like we’ve got some guys with pretty good defensive versatility and flexibility,’’ Boone said.

— Additional reporting by Ken Davidoff

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