Ben Francisco has begun to lose his grip on the starting right field job by batting just .107 (3-for-28) with a 7/7 K/BB ratio this month, but at least now he has a little more time to right the ship.
According to David Hale of the Wilmington News Journal, Domonic Brown was diagnosed with a first degree sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb and will be sidelined for 5-7 days. Brown suffered the injury while playing with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday, so he could presumably return to action sometime next week.
Brown has bounced back nicely from hamate bone surgery by batting .353/.425/.588 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBI over his first 40 plate appearances with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. The most important thing is that the 23-year-old gets regular at-bats right now, but he should eventually get a chance at the job he was expected to win at the start of spring training.
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.