Luke Scott is coming back from shoulder surgery and Rays manager Joe Maddon said today that he won’t play the field at all during spring training, sticking strictly to designated hitter duties.
That isn’t such a big deal, as Scott is slated to be the Rays’ regular DH, but it does indicate that he’s not fully recovered from the operation to repair a torn labrum in July.
Scott was non-tendered by the Orioles in December following a career-worst season that saw him play just 64 games while hitting .220 with a .703 OPS. He got a one-year, $6 million deal from the Rays that includes a $6 million option for 2013, and the 33-year-old Scott posted an OPS above .800 in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.
Maddon and the Rays have so far laughed off Scott’s various headline-grabbing quotes and behavior, but his outspokenness probably won’t be so amusing if it doesn’t come with 25 homers.
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.