Francona hints Kluber played through back injury in ALDS

Corey Kluber may not have been 100 percent healthy when he took the mound for Wednesday’s decisive Game 5 against the New York Yankees.

For the second time in the American League Division Series, the Yankees -specifically Didi Gregorius – roughed up the normally dominant Kluber, tagging him for three earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings of work, on their way to overcoming an 0-2 series deficit.

His uncharacteristic outing led to speculation the right-hander was dealing with another back issue, and skipper Terry Francona suggested as much postgame.

“You know what? I think he’s fighting a lot, and I think you also have to respect the fact that guy wants to go out there, and he’s our horse. And sometimes it doesn’t work,” Francona said Wednesday, according to ASAP Sports.

Kluber was bothered by a lower back issue earlier this season, forcing him to the disabled list for most of May. He seemed healthy upon his return, however, as he went on to craft a 1.62 ERA in 23 games, helping the Indians clinch the division with ease.

Despite being battered even worse in Game 2 – he allowed six earned runs and was chased after just 2 2/3 innings – Kluber was mum on his health Wednesday and refused to make excuses for his two shortened postseason starts.

“I don’t feel like I need to get into details right now,” Kluber told Fangraphs’ Travis Sawchik postgame. “I was healthy enough to go out there and try to pitch.”

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