A’s prospect Michael Choice, the 10th overall pick in the draft two years ago, will miss the rest of the 2012 season with a fractured hand.
Choice was riding a 16-game hitting streak for Double-A Midland when he was hit in the hand by a pitch during Saturday’s game. After a rough first half of the season that saw him bat .256/.326/.367 with six homers in 289 at-bats, he was at .414/.475/.657 with four homers since the All-Star break.
Choice has been a center fielder throughout his minor league career, but he projects as a right fielder in the majors, meaning he’s going to need to hit for more power and do a better job of making contact if he’s going to succeed as a regular. The last few weeks had to have the A’s more optimistic about his chances, so even though the timing of his injury was awfully disappointing, he should have a chance of opening next year in Triple-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.