The veteran had to leave Tuesday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays after completing just three innings.
New York sent him for an MRI on Wednesday and it was revealed he has a subscapularis muscle strain and will be shut down for four weeks.
Per Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Kluber is expected to be out for two months.
He will be missed for as long as he is gone, as he had a 3.04 ERA in 53.1 innings, which is quite an accomplishment after a really slow start.
The Yankees Have Two Potential Replacements, But Already Made Their Pick
The easy answer, for the Yankees, is Deivi Garcia.
However, the best option, at least for now, may be Michael King.
Garcia will likely be the route the organization takes, since he made such a good impression last season in 34.1 big league innings.
In fact, he will officially rejoin the Yankees starting rotation this weekend against the Tigers.
But that may not be the best idea.
Deivi Garcia will make a start in Detroit this weekend, which Boone says was planned before the Kluber news. Michael King also a possibility for a start.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) May 26, 2021
Last season, Garcia had a 4.98 ERA, which isn’t so bad considering that he made a good impression for the most part.
But he also had a tiny 4.1 percent walk rate, when the numbers hovered around 11 percent in his previous minor league stops, with larger samples than just 34.1 innings.
That 4.1 percent walk rate in his debut campaign in the bigs seemed fluky.
In the early going of this season, it has been demonstrated that Garcia still has problems throwing strikes consistently, and that he needs time in Triple-A.
He will be a very good starter once he masters the strike zone, but it appears that hasn’t happened yet, as his walk rate is at 17.4 percent in 15.2 Triple-A frames; and 16.7 percent in four big league innings this year.
Evidently, Garcia still has problems with walks that may come back to bite him in the bigs.
Deivi Garcia struggling with his command here in the first inning, issuing three walks to load the bases with one out. Matt Blake out to the mound.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) March 19, 2021
Garcia Is Still Not Ready For Extended MLB Exposure
Instead of overexposing the young pitcher, the Yankees should deploy King in the rotation for a couple of months.
King doesn’t quite have the upside of Garcia, but can eat innings and keep his team in the game most nights.
In a long relief role this season, King has a 2.29 ERA in 19.2 frames with the Yankees.
He is adept at inducing ground balls (50.9 percent), which is a very good way to manage contact in the absence of a big strikeout rate.
King has excelled the high minors and has a bit more experience than Garcia, something that should be considered.
In any case, the Yankees have already lined up Garcia to enter the rotation, at least for the weekend.
He has a chance of sticking if he impresses.