Luis Ayala had to settle for a spring training invite last offseason, but he might find a guaranteed major league contract this winter.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Red Sox and Rays are among the teams who have “checked in” on the veteran right-hander.
Ayala, who turns 34 in January, made the Yankees’ Opening Day roster this season and posted a 2.09 ERA and 39/20 K/BB ratio over 56 innings. He also induced ground balls 50 percent of the time, his highest percentage since 2004 as a member of the Expos.
Ayala didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2010 and had an ugly 5.68 ERA from 2008-09 between the Nationals, Mets, Twins and Marlins. His peripherals weren’t overly impressive this season and his strand rate was a little on the fortunate side, so some regression could be in order for 2012.
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.