Scott Feldman has become sort of a forgotten man in Texas and missing part of the regular season and the Rangers’ entire playoff run with a knee injury and beginning this year on the disabled list.
However, he was their Opening Day starter last season after going 17-8 with a 4.08 ERA in 2009 and T.R. Sullivan reports that Feldman threw four scoreless innings in an extended spring training game yesterday and “could be getting close” to a minor-league rehab assignment.
Feldman didn’t pitch nearly as well as his 17 wins in 2009 would suggest, but he’s a 28-year-old pitcher with a 4.73 ERA in 78 career starts and the Rangers could definitely use another mid-rotation starter to eat some innings. Not to mention the fact that they’re paying him $4.4 million this season and owe Feldman another $6.5 million in 2012.
Brandon Webb is nowhere near joining the Rangers’ rotation, but Feldman, Neftali Feliz, and Tommy Hunter are all on the comeback trail.
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.