Scott Baker has battled elbow problems since 2010, throwing just 135 innings last year and beginning this year on the disabled list, and after a recent setback the Twins announced today that he’ll undergo season-ending surgery.
It’s not Tommy John surgery, but rather a repair of his flexor pronator tendon, which carries a six-month recovery timetable.
That rules him out for this season and with Minnesota all but certain to decline his $9.5 million option for 2013 likely signals the end of his Twins career.
Baker topped 175 innings just once, throwing 200 in 2009, but when healthy he was consistently a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios and a 3.98 ERA in 134 starts since 2007. It’s remarkable that he pitched as well he did last season, posting a 3.14 ERA and 123/32 K/BB ratio.
Baker being out of the picture likely means that prospect Liam Hendriks will get an opportunity to stick in the Twins’ rotation at age 23 and with little experience above Double-A.
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.