Terry Francona broadcast last night’s Yankees-Red Sox game for ESPN, but before that the former Boston manager had what Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe describes as “a long conversation with six players and bench coach Tim Bogar” in the Red Sox clubhouse Saturday.
Francona apparently feared that might upset the man who replaced him as manager, so he sent an apology to Bobby Valentine via text message.
“I didn’t think it was any big deal,” Valentine told Abraham. “I didn’t see it. I wasn’t there partaking in the conversation. But what’s the big deal?”
And then Sunday morning, as part of the usual pregame prep for ESPN, Francona and his announcing partners Dan Shulman and Orel Hershiser met with Valentine. And according to Valentine the previous day’s clubhouse meeting and subsequent texting didn’t even come up.
Realistically this whole thing isn’t much of a story, but the real headline here is that Valentine turned down an opportunity to make a big deal out of something.
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.