Rangers likely done pursuing Mike Lowell after claiming Ryan Garko off waivers

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Cut by the Mariners earlier this week, Ryan Garko has been claimed off waivers by the Rangers and fits as the right-handed bench bat manager Ron Washington has been clamoring for recently.
His arrival seemingly also makes the Rangers significantly less likely to trade for Mike Lowell, because Garko is every bit as good a platoon partner for the left-handed-hitting Chris Davis at first base. Over the past three seasons Garko has hit .311 with an .882 OPS versus left-handed pitching, which is nearly identical to Lowell batting .314 with an .881 OPS versus southpaws during that same span.
Garko isn’t much of a defender even at first base, whereas Lowell can play first base and third base (if healthy), but the Rangers don’t give Michael Young many days off at the hot corner anyway. And certainly Garko being seven years younger and a whole lot healthier is a big factor as well. Seattle opted to keep Mike Sweeney over Garko, which may prove to weaken the Mariners and help their division-mates in Texas.
And now the Red Sox may have to find a new trade partner for Lowell, who seems all but guaranteed to remain in Boston beyond Opening Day.

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.