Corey Kluber named Red Sox’ Opening Day starter

The Red Sox have named Corey Kluber as their Opening Day starter, manager Alex Cora announced on Wednesday. The two-time Cy Young Award winner will get the ball against the Orioles at Fenway Park on March 30.

Kluber, who turns 37 next month, signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox in January that comes with a club option for 2024. Shortly after putting pen to paper, Cora informed the veteran right-hander that he would be starting on Opening Day.

“I talked to him right after orientation meetings — Winter Weekend,” Cora told reporters (including’s CJ Haddad). “I gave him a call the next week and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be my Opening Day starter. So whatever you have to do family-wise, structure-wise, be ready, you’re pitching that day.’ He appreciated that.”

Kluber is coming off a 2022 campaign with the Rays in which he posted a 4.34 ERA and 3.57 FIP with 139 strikeouts to 21 walks over 31 starts spanning 164 innings of work. Prior to that, the three-time All-Star made five consecutive Opening Day starts while with Cleveland from 2015-2019.

Over the weekend, Cora revealed that Chris Sale would not be getting the nod on Opening Day after the left-hander has been mired by injuries in each of the last three seasons. Instead, Sale will get the chance to enjoy the festivities on March 30 (his 34th birthday) as a spectator before making his first start in Boston’s second game against Baltimore on April 1.

“I want him to enjoy Thursday (March 30, Opening Day) as a regular baseball player,” Cora said Sunday. “Just the whole Opening Day thing. Whenever he pitches in the rotation, he’ll pitch in the rotation. But I decided that like a month and a half ago.”

Kluber made his fourth start of the spring against the Rays at JetBlue Park on Wednesday. He will likely make two additional Grapefruit League starts before the Red Sox head north and the 2023 regular season begins.

Beyond Kluber and Sale, how the rest of the Red Sox’ starting rotation will shake out to begin the year is still somewhat of a mystery. With James Paxton (hamstring strain), Brayan Bello (forearm tightness), and Garrett Whitlock (slow buildup after September hip surgery) all candidates to start the season on the injured list, Boston could break camp with Kluber, Sale, Nick Pivetta, Tanner Houck, and Kutter Crawford as its five starters.

“It’s one start,” said Cora. “Obviously, it’s a special one because it’s Opening Day, but after that, I think at one point nobody remembers who was the Opening Day starter. Everybody has to do their part regardless. The five guys are going to start, and then guys are going to join them later on.”

Kluber has often said that Fenway Park is one of his favorite ballparks to pitch in. The Alabama native makes his offseason home in Winchester, Mass. (where his wife, Amanda is from) and will now have the chance to make some lifelong memories later this month.

“I’m excited about [Kluber],” Cora said. ” I know it’s special for his family, and it should be a fun one.”

(Picture of Corey Kluber: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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