From Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star comes word that Royals closer Joakim Soria is unlikely to pitch in the final four games of the season due to a hamstring strain that he suffered last weekend.
Soria was able to play catch on flat ground Friday without feeling discomfort, but the Royals’ medical staff needs to see him to throw consecutive bullpen sessions before giving their clearance and he simply won’t have enough time to pull that off.
Soria, 27, posted a career-worst 4.03 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 60 relief appearances this year, striking out 60 batters in 60 1/3 innings while issuing 17 walks. He finished with only 28 saves and even lost a longtime nickname, albeit for the right reasons.
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.