Bryce Harper and Chipper Jones are pitted against each other in the “Final Vote” contest for an All-Star spot, with most people assuming that the Nationals phenom will win.
Harper said Sunday that he’d vote for Jones because “I think a Hall of Famer should be able to go to the All-Star game his last year.”
Once word of that got back to Jones he texted Harper to say thanks and then had plenty of praise for the 19-year-old rookie, telling Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
That’s a very classy thing for a 19-year-old kid to say. I think he’s going to be in his fair share of All-Star games throughout the years. He’s an unbelievable talent and I just let him know that I appreciated what he said. It was classy.
Players inevitably dropping out due to injuries could mean that there’s room on the NL team for both Harper and Jones, but the other “Final Vote” candidates (Michael Bourn, David Freese, Aaron Hill) seemingly have zero chance to finish higher than third in the balloting.
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.