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TAMPA — Corey Kluber’s spring debut with the Yankees couldn’t have gone any better.
The right-hander looked perfectly healthy in his first game after pitching one inning last season before a strained shoulder sidelined him for the rest of the year.
Against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the former Cy Young winner retired all six batters he faced — including three by strikeout — in his two-inning outing.
Giancarlo Stanton said Kluber looked like his old dominant self.
“I had the same impressions playing against him,’’ Stanton said of the 34-year-old. “He’s a dog out there. He’s going to pump the zone and carve up these hitters like he’s been [doing] and not be fazed. He’s just unfazed by whatever happens out there.”
Kluber threw 22 pitches, 15 for strikes.
“I felt like it was pretty solid,’’ Kluber said. “First and foremost to get out there and face another team. I was joking it was the first time I pitched multiple innings against a real opponent in almost two years. That’s too long.”
The Yankees signed Kluber to a one-year, $11 million deal as part of an overhaul of their rotation. Masahiro Tanaka returned to play in Japan, James Paxton signed with Seattle and J.A. Happ moved on to Minnesota.
They are confident Kluber is healthy after the right-hander rehabbed with the Yankees’ director of player health and performance, Eric Cressey.
“As far as physically, I feel like I’m in a good spot,’’ said Kluber, who was sidelined by a fractured forearm in 2019. “I don’t go out there with any thoughts of the injuries I’ve dealt with in the past. I’m just trying to prepare for the season.”
Part of that is getting back to the right mindset on the mound.
“I do a pretty good job of keeping my emotions even-keeled,’’ Kluber said. “If anything, maybe I needed adrenaline to remind my body what it feels like to go out there and have that. It’s hard to replicate that in a bullpen [session] or live BP.”
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