Theriot to lead off for Cubs, with Fontenot likely starting at second base

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Lou Piniella revealed a few tidbits this afternoon, most notably that Mike Fontenot has a leg up on Jeff Baker as the Cubs’ starting second baseman.
“Right now, as we speak, I think that Fontenot has probably jumped ahead a little in the second base slot,” Piniella told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. “It hasn’t been finalized, but that’s the way I view it right now.”
Piniella also said that Ryan Theriot will serve as the Cubs’ leadoff man against both right-handers and left-handers, with Kosuke Fukudome hitting second against righties.
Sullivan notes that “Fukudome will sit against lefties and someone else will move into the No. 2 hole,” but it isn’t clear yet who’ll get that assignment because presumed platoon partner Xavier Nady may not be healthy enough to play the outfield early on. Other options include Jeff Baker and Kevin Millar.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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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.