Casey Blake talked about possibly retiring following September neck surgery, but instead signed a non-guaranteed one-year deal with the Rockies and entered spring training atop the third base depth chart.
Today the Rockies released Blake after the 37-year-old went just 3-for-20 with seven strikeouts while showing signs of not being fully healthy.
This may be the end of the line for Blake, who went from career minor leaguer to quality regular for the Indians and Dodgers despite not getting an extended chance in the majors until age 29. He hit just .252 with a .713 OPS in 63 games in between disabled list stints last season and had similarly mediocre production in 2010.
Blake would have earned $2 million for making the Opening Day roster, but instead Colorado will go with rookies Jordan Pacheco and Chris Nelson at third base until 21-year-old stud prospect Nolan Arenado is ready.
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.