Corey Kluber of the Yankees pitches during the second inning against...

Corey Kluber of the Yankees pitches during the second inning against the Nationals at Yankee Stadium on May 8. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Corey Kluber continues to make strides that eventually could make him a rotation option by early-to-mid-September.

The 35-year-old righthander, on the injured list since May 26 with a right shoulder strain, came through his second rehab outing Tuesday night OK, according to Aaron Boone.

"Thought he threw the ball really well," said Boone, who watched a replay of the outing earlier in the day Wednesday. "I thought the shapes on pitches were strong. He threw 56 pitches, so another uptick for him. He's here today, feels good and normal [for the day after throwing]. I thought his first outing [Aug. 12 with Double-A Somerset], where the line wasn't very good, I thought the stuff was OK, actually, and I thought it was even better this time out."

Kluber, who took the mound for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, allowed three runs, two hits and two walks in three innings-plus in Worcester, Massachusetts. Kluber, who threw a no-hitter May 19 against the Rangers in Arlington, Texas, one start before suffering the shoulder injury, struck out four.

"I don't think his cutter’s where he wants it quite yet, but I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing from his stuff, and I think he is as well and [with] how he’s been able to bounce back so far," Boone said. "Look forward to his next one and hopefully building him up a little bit more."

The expectation is that Kluber will need at least two or three more rehab outings before becoming a consideration to be put back into the rotation.

Chapman returns

The Yankees activated Aroldis Chapman on Wednesday afternoon from the IL, where he had been since Aug. 6 with left elbow inflammation. Boone said Chapman, who was demoted from his closer’s role just before the All-Star break but was reinstated to it shortly before his IL stint began, still is his closer.

"I think right away we felt pretty good about what we're dealing with as far as the elbow," Boone said. "I think we just took the conservative approach of just giving it a few days to kind of calm down and I think that probably served him, and us, well . . . really over the last few weeks before that [the inflammation], felt like he was settling back into being the Chappy we know.''

Chapman is 5-3 with a 3.79 ERA and 23 saves in 27 chances this season. He has struck out 69 in 40 1/3 innings.

Chapman entered Wednesday night's game in a non-save situation and allowed a 456-foot home run by Hunter Renfroe to make it 5-2. He recorded two outs but left with runners on first and third before Lucas Luetge earned his first save since Aug. 21, 2012.

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