UPDATE: As expected, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that Tony La Russa has rejoined the Cardinals and will manage tonight’s game.
Drew wrote yesterday about how Tony La Russa is feeling better after leaving the Cardinals to have his shingles treated and now Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that La Russa ” is expected to return to the dugout for tonight’s series opener against the Phillies.”
La Russa has missed six games while being examined at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona, but general manager John Mozeliak told Strauss that the manager could be cleared to return today: “The condition isn’t going to progress. It’s more about what Tony can tolerate.”
Strauss writes that La Russa has been in constant contact with fill-in manager Joe Pettini and felt good enough to tape radio and television shows yesterday. In his absence the Cardinals are 2-4, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds.
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.