Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports the Diamondbacks have interest in signing a backup catcher and that Henry Blanco is “at or near the top” of their list.
Blanco, 39, batted .215/.271/.300 with two home runs and eight RBI in 144 plate appearances with the Mets this past season while throwing out 50 percent (11-for-22) of would-be basestealers. The veteran backstop has a good reputation in the clubhouse and is known as a mentor to younger catchers, but much like the newly-signed Geoff Blum, he also has a connection with new Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers from their time together in San Diego. By the way, Blanco also looks like a good guy to have on your side during a fight.
I know, I know, this isn’t really anything particularly noteworthy, but anything involving Blanco has extra meaning to me, since I sponsor his page on Baseball Reference. Good luck to Hank.
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.