Yankees’ Kluber out at least two months, Voit also to IL

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NEW YORK — Yankees right-hander Corey Kluber is expected to miss at least two months after hurting his pitching shoulder, and first baseman Luke Voit is also headed to the injured list with a right oblique strain.

New York manager Aaron Boone announced the diagnoses Wednesday shortly after the Yankees’ scheduled game against the Toronto Blue Jays was postponed due to a forecast of poor weather. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader Thursday.

Kluber was pulled after three innings Tuesday against Toronto in his first outing following a no-hitter last week. An MRI on his shoulder Wednesday revealed a subscapularis strain, which will keep Kluber from throwing for at least four weeks, followed by at least four weeks of rehabilitation.

The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner is being sent for a second MRI with dyeing, a more invasive exam to ensure there’s no other damage.

Kluber was coming off a 101-pitch effort against the Rangers for the 35-year-old’s first no-hitter. It was a milestone high for a former ace recently beset by injury – his 2019 season with Cleveland ended that May 1 when he was hit on the forearm by a comebacker, and his debut for Texas in 2020 lasted just one inning before he tore a muscle in his right shoulder on July 26.

Boone doesn’t believe the no-hitter caused Kluber’s injury. Kluber said Tuesday he felt some tightness in the shoulder warming up for Wednesday’s game, but it’s unclear what caused the injury.

Kluber dropped to 4-3 with a 3.04 ERA.

Deivi Garcia and Michael King are the chief candidates to fill his rotation spot. Garcia, currently with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, was already scheduled to rejoin the big league team and make a spot start this weekend against Detroit as New York plans 13 games in 13 days.

“We’ll have to pick up the slack for him, obviously,” Boone said.

New York entered Wednesday 28-20, one game behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays and a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox.

Voit’s diagnosis was even more of a shocker. Boone said the slugger began to feel discomfort in his side Saturday that worsened Tuesday, prompting an MRI that revealed a Grade 2 strain.

Voit, who led the majors with 22 home runs last season, is hitting .182 with one homer in 12 games after missing the start of the season following surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee during spring training.

“To have a setback here that’s going to land him on the IL, he’s very frustrated with that,” Boone said. “But hopefully it’s not going to keep him down too long.”

DJ LeMahieu and Mike Ford are expected to fill in for Voit at first base. Miguel Andujar could also see time there.

New York is hoping to get slugger Giancarlo Stanton back from the injured list with a quadriceps injury this week. Stanton ran on the field Tuesday and Wednesday, and Boone said he’s eyeing a Friday return, although he didn’t rule out Stanton as an option for Thursday.

The Yankees are also without outfielder Aaron Hicks, who was scheduled to have left wrist surgery Wednesday that could keep him out the rest of the season.

LeMahieu returned to the team Wednesday after going on the paternity list Tuesday for the birth of his first child. He was slated to play first base.

New York announced the postponement of Wednesday’s game in the Bronx about two hours before the slated first pitch. The opener of Thursday’s twinbill will be at 4:05 p.m., and the nightcap will start roughly 30 minutes after the final out of the first game but no earlier than 7:05 p.m.

Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah had been set to make his major league debut against Yankees right-hander Domingo German, who was already scheduled to pitch on five days of rest. German has a seven-inning scoreless streak.

The Yankees plan to start German in the early game and left-hander Jordan Montgomery in the nightcap Thursday. Manoah will pitch the opener for Toronto and Robbie Ray the second game.

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky over the Bronx when the postponement was announced, although the forecast projected thunderstorms to begin right around the 7:05 p.m. start time.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.