Alex Cora’s deal with the Cardinals is official, with Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reporting that the veteran utility infielder agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Last week Cora announced his retirement from winter ball in Puerto Rico and Goold notes that he was thinking about going into coaching, but instead he’ll try to earn a spot on the Cardinals’ bench at age 37.
Cora has had a remarkable career, sticking around for 14 seasons despite getting more than 400 plate appearances just three times and topping a .700 OPS just three times. And none of those have come since 2004.
He hit .224 with a .562 OPS in 91 games for the Nationals last season, which was actually better than he hit in 2010 for the Mets and Rangers. His primary competition for a bench gig may be Tyler Greene, depending on if Daniel Descalso or Skip Schumaker starts at second base.
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.