BOSTON — Corey Kluber finally stepped back onto a mound Friday in his attempt to come back from a strained shoulder that has sidelined him since May.
Asked how confident he was he would be back by the end of the regular season, Kluber said, “Very.”
“The way I’ve felt throwing, the way I’ve bounced back [and] the calendar,’’ Kluber said in explaining his belief he would return.
Kluber threw 20 pitches — all fastballs — in the bullpen session before the Yankees’ 6-2 loss to the Red Sox Friday night at Fenway Park.
The right-hander said things went as expected.
“More than anything, it’s a stepping stone,’’ Kluber said. “Each time you get to a new distance [throwing] or go off a mound, you have peace of mind after the first one is under your belt and it’s easier not to have it in the back of your mind the next time you do it.”
Kluber, who signed a one-year, $11 million deal before the season, seemed to be rounding into form when he suffered his second shoulder strain in as many years. Cashman said previously the 35-year-old isn’t expected back in the rotation until September.
Kluber again declined to put a timeline on a potential return, saying he prefers to not look that far ahead.
Luis Severino, coming back from last year’s Tommy John surgery, also is set to throw live batting practice Saturday as he rehabs from the strained groin he suffered during his second rehab start.
If that goes well, Severino could begin another rehab assignment next week.
Two other right-handers the Yankees expected depth from this season, Michael King and Clarke Schmidt, also are still out.
King will have to be built back up when he is able to return from the middle finger contusion that landed him on the IL.
Schmidt, who suffered an elbow strain during spring training, is ready to pitch in a game for the first time this season, Aaron Boone said. Schmidt most recently threw two innings of live batting practice.
His rehab outing, which likely will happen in Tampa, either with the Low-A team or in the Florida Complex League, is expected to be three innings and around 40 pitches “in the next couple of days.”
Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier remain out indefinitely.
Andujar has to have another cortisone shot in his ailing left wrist on Thursday, Boone said.
“Hopefully that does the trick,” he said. “He was ramping back up and still had residual soreness there. They’re optimistic it’s not a long-term thing.”
If the wrist responds to the shot, he could resume baseball activities Saturday.
Frazier still is searching for answers for the vision issues he continues to deal with. Asked if Frazier could be done for the season, Boone said, “I have no idea.”
Frazier is able to work out and run, but has not begun baseball activities.