Kluber working through spring fatigue issues

Kluber working through spring fatigue issues

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona believes fatigue is the familiar culprit behind Corey Kluber's problematic innings this spring. Most of the pitcher's troubles have come in the latter part of his outings.

Francona said Kluber's struggles are not uncommon.

"Like normal springs, there's been some inconsistencies," Francona said. "Klubes has actually been pretty consistent in the fact that, in his last innings of his outings, he seems to get a little tired and leaves some balls over the middle. That's actually, I think, a good sign.

"Every outing, he carries his stuff, it seems like one inning farther. That's good. That's progression. That's what pitchers do. That's part of Spring Training."

During Saturday's 14-6 loss to the Rockies at Goodyear Ballpark, Kluber surrendered seven runs in six innings, but all the runs came in his final two frames. In his previous outing on Monday, the righty left with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. On March 12, or three starts ago, Kluber allowed three runs in the fourth inning after turning in three shutout innings.

Kluber, who is in line to open this season as Cleveland's No. 2 starter, said he got under some pitches during his delivery in his last performance, reducing the amount of sink on the ball. The pitcher also echoed Francona's overall assessment.

"I still feel really good out there," Kluber said. "I don't feel like there's anything that I really need to work on to change. I think I'm in a good spot. I think it's just kind of working through that, each time you go out there, that little bit that you haven't done before."

In 26 games last season, the 27-year-old Kluber went 11-5 with a 3.85 ERA in 147 1/3 innings, during which he piled up 133 strikeouts against 33 walks. In six Cactus League outings this spring, the right-hander has 16 strikeouts against two walks with a 6.64 ERA in 20 1/3 innings.

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.