* With the Blue Jays and Indians playing in Toronto, scouts have
converged to get a 2-for-1 showing on Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. In
particular, Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun reports that the Dodgers, Brewers, Phillies, and Red Sox are among the teams interested in Lee.
Perhaps they all read my piece yesterday suggesting that, all things considered, Lee might be a better trade target than Halladay. With the scouts on hand, Lee allowed just one run in his second straight complete-game win, striking out four and walking none while lowering his ERA to 3.17.
* Vladimir Guerrero’s impending free agency isn’t getting much
attention because he’s hitting a career-worst .290/.319/.415 and has
missed half the season with injuries, but Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register examines what the future holds for the former MVP.
* More great news for Cubs fans: Milton Bradley came off the bench as a pinch-hitter last night, appearing in his 75th game of the season to trigger his $12 million option for 2011.
* Last night the Mets were shut out
for the fifth time in their last 13 games and the ninth time overall
this season. When they actually score a run, the Mets are 44-40.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.