CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Corey Kluber is known for his serious demeanor, one in which he rarely shows emotion after a good play or acknowledges a standing ovation from a crowd at Progressive Field on his walk to the dugout after being removed from the game.
But even Kluber, a six-year veteran and the Indians’ staff ace, plans on enjoying his second consecutive trip to the Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
“First and foremost, it’s definitely an honor to be selected to an All-Star Game,” Kluber said prior to his final start of the first half of the 2017 regular season.
“It was never something I necessarily set as a goal for myself. I think it’s kind of farfetched to think back to where I was a handful of years ago to imagine making my second All-Star team, so it’s not anything I take for granted.”
Kluber’s second straight American League All-Star appearance will be a unique one of sorts, as he is making the trip with four teammates, reliever Andrew Miller, starting third baseman Jose Ramirez, shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Michael Brantley, as well as most of Cleveland’s coaching staff.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona is not in Miami to manager the American League because he underwent a cardiac ablation procedure last week.
“I think that’ll be special,” Kluber said. “Last year, I was fortunate to share it with two other guys (Lindor and starting pitcher Danny Salazar). It was all three of our first times, but this year, it will be really cool to have that many people that are a part of our team be down there.
“To watch the other four guys play and get the recognition they deserve, but also, the coaching staff, I think that was a big part of what we were able to accomplish last year. It’s a big honor for them to have a chance to work an All-Star Game. Hopefully, there’s a lot of Cleveland Indians stuff on the telecast.”
Despite missing a month because of back issues, Kluber earned the trip the All-Star Game.
Over 14 starts this season, Kluber has struck out 123 hitters against just 24 walks with 68 hits and 29 earned runs allowed over 93.1 innings of work. Despite missing several starts because of the back issues, Kluber has a 7-3 record and 2.80 earned run average, which is the lowest of any Indians starting pitcher.
During the last three weeks, Kluber set a franchise record with five straight 10-strikeout games.
“In a way, I think it’s a little bit of validation,” Kluber said. “You made it last year, and you made it again. It’s not a fluke type of thing, I guess.
“It’s definitely a busy couple days regardless, but I think Tuesday especially, it almost turns into a little bit more of a relaxed mindset. I don’t have to necessarily get prepared to go out there and pitch. I don’t have to go in the weight room and get ready, go in the training room and get ready.
“I’ll just kind of be able to enjoy it, and that’s what I’m planning on doing. It’s not every day you get to see that collection of players in the same game and be in the same clubhouse with those guys. I’m just going to try and take it all in.”
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