Jose Contreras’ minor-league rehab assignment got off to a rough start last week, but since then he’s made a pair of good appearances and could be on the verge of returning from elbow surgery.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Contreras is scheduled to pitch today and tomorrow, testing his arm with back-to-back outings, and if everything goes well he could come off the disabled list as soon as this weekend.
Initially the recovery timetable for his September surgery was 4-6 months, so Contreras being right in line with that is pretty remarkable at age 40. And with Chad Qualls hurting the Phillies could definitely use the bullpen reinforcement.
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.