Wandy Rodriguez will make his Pirates debut Saturday and adding to the drama is that he’ll be facing his former Astros teammates, in Houston.
Rodriguez’s arrival caused the Pirates to bump someone from the rotation and Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Kevin Correia has been demoted to the bullpen despite being a pretty decent starter since joining the team last year.
He has a 4.56 ERA in 45 total starts during that time, including a 4.24 mark this year, although
with offense being down across MLB that’s actually quite a bit worse than it initially appears. In fact, the NL average ERA for starters this year is 3.99.
There’s also been some speculation that the Pirates are looking to trade Correia to a team that could use him as a fourth or fifth starter, so he may not be long for the bullpen anyway.
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.