Felipe Paulino looked like a candidate for a mini-breakout this season after throwing 125 innings with a 4.11 ERA and 119 strikeouts following a trade to the Royals last year, but instead the 28-year-old right-hander was placed on the disabled list with elbow soreness.
Manager Ned Yost indicated to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com that the injury is not considered serious, but Paulino has a history of elbow problems and it means both Luis Mendoza and Danny Duffy will be in the Opening Day rotation while he recovers from what is officially being called a right forearm flexor pronator strain.
They’ll join Opening Day starter Bruce Chen, plus Jonathan Sanchez and Luke Hochevar, which is a group that plays a big part in me being skeptical about the Royals’ chances of finally contending this season.
(And just because I’m still a child, this out-of-context quote from Yost about Paulino made me chuckle: “He’s a real tight-bodied guy.”)
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.