Dodgers ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was sidelined by a sore shoulder, played catch for about five minutes yesterday and it “went pretty well.”
That was an improvement from his session on Monday, when manager Dave Roberts told reporters that Kershaw “didn’t feel great” after playing catch.
“He’s doing better now than a week ago, and that’s a good thing,” said Andrew Friedman, president of baseball operations of the Dodgers.
Friedman told MLB.com:
“We’re early enough in Spring Training that we have a little bit of time. Today went pretty well. I’m sure he’ll pick up a ball and do it again tomorrow. The challenging part is taking the time and having the patience to kind of go through it. He’s in a good frame of mind right now.”
Kershaw made 25 throws to conditioning coach Brandon McDaniel in a five-minute session yesterday, under the watchful eye of pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and he appeared to throw more firmly than he did Monday.
The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner and one-time Most Valuable Player, signed a three-year, $93 million extension with the Dodgers in November.
Kershaw Could Make Ninth Straight Opening Day Start
Kershaw was named the Opening Day starter for the ninth consecutive season. The left-hander heads a starting rotation that includes Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda.
The Dodgers also have enough depth to replace Kershaw if he’s not ready by the time the team opens the season on March 28 against the Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Julio Urias, Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart have all been used as starting pitchers this spring and they’re all ready to join the rotation if needed.
Clayton Kershaw hasn’t made 30 or more starts since 2015, but he’s still been very effective. He went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA with 155 strikeouts over 161 1/3 innings last season and the Dodgers need him back to his best possible form in order to reach their third straight World Series.
Kershaw Has Something to Prove
This will be Kershaw’s 12th season in the majors and he’s coming off a third consecutive year interrupted by injury. The left-hander missed the National League All-Star team for the first time after seven consecutive selections and he finished lower than fifth in the National League Cy Young Award voting for the first time in seven years.
Kershaw still had a season that most pitchers would envy, he won nine games, had an ERA under three and totaled 191 1/3 innings, including the postseason. He did have a dip in velocity and strikeout ratio but still finished the regular season ranking fourth in ERA, third in strikeout-to-walk ratio and fourth in opponents’ on-base percentage.
He went 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA, recorded 77 strikeouts against 12 walks, posted a 1.00 WHIP and held batters to a .227/.255/.365 slash line in 13 second half starts. Kershaw is 153-69 with a 2.39 ERA in 318 career games (316 starts).