Nationals sign minor league deal with Cla Meredith

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The Nationals announced on their official team Twitter feed this evening that they have reached agreement on a minor league contract with right-hander Cla Meredith.

Meredith enjoyed a couple of successful seasons in a middle relief role for the Padres from 2006-2009, but he allowed nine earned runs in 15 innings last year with the Orioles and he posted a 6.00 ERA and 1.63 WHIP across 27 innings at Triple-A Norfolk.

The 27-year-old’s new deal with Washington carries an invitation to spring training, where Meredith will get a chance to prove that he is worthy of a spot at the back end of the Nationals’ bullpen.  There’s a slight chance he might bounce back with a change of scenery, but our guess is that he gets shipped to the Triple-A level once spring training breaks.  He can fight his way back up from there.

The Nats also officially announced a minor league agreement with veteran infielder Alex Cora.

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.