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Kluber lined up to make return on Friday

Kluber lined up to make return on Friday

Kluber lined up to make return on Friday

CLEVELAND -- The Indians are planning to have right-hander Corey Kluber pitch on Friday against the Mets, nearly five weeks after his last outing.

Kluber -- who has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 6 because of a right middle finger sprain -- participated in a simulated game at Progressive Field on Monday, using between 60 and 65 pitches and throwing four innings. If there are no further issues, Kluber will enter Friday's game after what will likely be a somewhat abbreviated start by Scott Kazmir and fall into the rotation behind the left-hander.

"He did real well," Tribe manager Terry Francona said, referring to Kluber's sim game. "I don't think he showed any effects. I thought the way he threw the ball today was [impressive]. It's afternoon, after coming back from a road trip. I thought he threw the ball great."

Kluber last appeared for Cleveland on Aug. 5, when he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings against Detroit. In 21 games (19 starts), he is 7-5 with a 3.54 ERA. He did not enjoy being unable to contribute while on the bench, and will look forward to Friday.

"We want Corey to have as much of a start as possible, in terms of getting loose and everything," Francona said.

The manager also said it was too early to decide whether Kluber's return to the rotation will push another pitcher out of it. He did not rule out the idea of using a six-man starting staff, though such a measure would probably last for just a turn or two.

Right now, Francona is more concerned with Kluber's comeback.

"It feels like it's been a lot longer than it actually has," Kluber said. "It's not fun, just sitting around and watching. It'll be nice to get back out there."

Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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