B.J. Upton on trade rumors: “Most nerve-wracking two weeks I ever had”

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Publicly at least most players say they aren’t bothered a ton by trade rumors, but B.J. Upton admitted feeling very relieved yesterday once the afternoon deadline came and went without his leaving Tampa Bay.

In fact, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune notes that Upton “raised his arms and yelled ‘word … I’m still here!'” as the deadline officially passed while he played catch in the outfield.

Here’s what Upton told Mooney about the experience of being on the trading block:

I’m just glad it’s over with. That’s probably the most nerve-wracking two weeks I ever had. I’ve always said I want to be here. I grew up playing with these guys, a lot of good guys on this team, a good organization, so I’m just glad it’s over with and we can move forward and continue to try to win ball games.

Definitely a little bit tougher than I thought it would be. You wake up and that’s the first thing you see is trade talks, and obviously I was in them. Come to the field and that’s all you see all over the place, you guys ask me the same thing every day, so yeah, it was definitely tough. I’m glad it’s over.

Upton went 5-for-52 (.096) in the two weeks leading up to the trade deadline, although certainly he’s had plenty of prolonged slumps in the past without being able to blame trade rumors for shaking him up. And while he’s out of the woods for now, there’s a slim chance he could still be moved before August 31 and the Rays will almost certainly revisit trade talks for Upton during the offseason.

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.