Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed Wednesday that two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber will take the ball for the club when it opens the season on March 30.
Kluber will face the Orioles on Opening Day with Chris Sale likely lined up for the second game of the season on April 1.
Kluber, a four-time All-Star who won the Cy Young Award in 2014 and 2017, signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox in January after going 10-10 with a 4.34 ERA in 164 innings for the Rays in 2022. He has previously made five Opening Day starts. Kluber made his fourth start of the spring Wednesday against the Rays, going five innings and allowing four hits and one run, with six strikeouts.
He will likely make two additional Grapefruit League starts before regular-season play begins.
Cora said Wednesday he informed Kluber in January that he would start on Opening Day. Sale, who has been with the team since 2017, was the logical choice heading into camp but Cora decided to avoid giving the nod to the oft-injured lefty. He explained why last week.
“I want him to enjoy Thursday (March 30, Opening Day) as a regular baseball player,” Cora said. “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.”
With James Paxton (hamstring strain), Brayan Bello (slow buildup after forearm soreness) and Garrett Whitlock (slow buildup after September hip surgery) all candidates for short injured list stints to start the season, the Red Sox are expected to roll out a rotation of Kluber, Sale, Tanner Houck, Kutter Crawford and Nick Pivetta at the beginning of the year.
Houck and Crawford both pitched Sunday and are candidates to pitch the third game of the season against the Orioles on April 2.