Birthday debut: Corey Kluber made his Rays debut Sunday, his 36th birthday. The two-time Cy Young winner threw 87 pitches and walked four batters, but did not allow a run in 4 2/3 innings (3 hits, 5 strikeouts) before giving way to the bullpen.

Tampa Bay Rays: Cash Believes Corey Kluber Is ‘Performing In His Prime’

Rays Corey Kluber is needed more now than ever, on and off the field, especially with so many young pitchers being used on Tampa Bay's staff this season.
Corey Kluber, Credit Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG., Fla. – Rays Corey Kluber is needed more now than ever, on and off the field, especially with so many young pitchers being used on Tampa Bay’s staff this season.

Kluber hit his 10-year MLB service mark Wednesday and was asked what advice he has for some of the young arms on the Rays team to pitch in the big leagues for a decade.

“There’s definitely an amount of good fortune and luck that goes into it,” Kluber said. “I was fortunate enough to be in a position in Cleveland where I was allowed to kind of go through some growing pains and get acclimated to pitching at this level. I don’t know if I have a magic answer to it. I think a lot of different things go into it.”

The Rays have used a boatload of pitchers this season, mostly because of injuries and that’s something that Kluber has had to fight through in his career. He’s known as a stoic pitcher on the mound and in the locker room and the young staff have taken notice.

“Yeah, nobody wants to go through that,” Kluber said. “But over the course of 10 years, there’s going to be some road bumps for everybody. But I think that ultimately, being able to overcome that and get back to pitching at a level I expect myself to, yeah it’s nice.”

Kluber is coming off one of his strongest outings in a win over the Red Sox on Tuesday. Rays manager Kevin Cash remembers when Kluber was more of a dominating hard thrower when both were with the Indians, but Cash feels like Kluber is pitching as well as he’s ever, right now.

“It’s an honor for me that I got to see the early, early, Corey Kluber in Cleveland and now I’m seeing him, the way he’s performing, right in his prime for us.”

The Rays go into the All-Star break fighting for a playoff spot in a crowded AL East behind a dominating Yankees and will certainly need that calming presence of Kluber to help guide the Rays staff in the second half. 

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