In some serious need of outfield depth with Jason Heyward possibly facing a DL stint because of a sore right shoulder, the Braves have turned to former All-Star Ryan Klesko.
To pitch batting practice.
Klesko, who retired in 2007 after eight seasons with the Braves, seven with the Padres and one with the Giants, threw BP to Braves hitters prior to Wednesday’s game against the Nationals.
He said he’s been throwing BP for high school and college teams and that he’s done so for the Giants in spring training in the past. Klesko never pitched in the majors, but he was a big-time pitching prospect in high school before hurting his arm.
“I can throw breaking balls, curveballs and cutters and game simulation if they need me on occasion,” he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw entered Wednesday night’s start against the Marlins without having issued a walk in his previous three starts. In fact, his last walk came on April 3 when he issued a free pass to Paul Goldschmidt with the bases empty and two outs in the bottom of the first inning. All told, Kershaw was on a streak of 26 walk-less innings before he took the mound at home to take on the Marlins.
Kershaw started off Wednesday in character, striking out the side in the first inning. He issued a walk in a tough second inning, but escaped without allowing a run. Kershaw walked two more in the third and again danced out of danger. In the fourth, Kershaw walked Lewis Brinson to load the bases with no outs and — you guessed it — didn’t end up allowing a run. His errant control finally came back to bite him in the fifth when Kershaw issued back-to-back two-out walks, then served up a three-run home run to Miguel Rojas down the left field line. His night was done when he completed the inning. Five innings, three runs, five hits, six walks, seven strikeouts, 112 pitches.
The six walks Kershaw issued over five innings marked his first six-walk outing since April 7, 2010 when he issued six free passes to the Pirates in 4 2/3 innings. The only other time he walked as many was on August 3, 2009 against the Brewers in a four-plus inning outing. Kershaw hasn’t even walked five batters in an outing recently — the last time was September 23, 2012 against the Reds.