The Rangers are going with a three-man bench after dropping Alberto Gonzalez from the roster last week. That’s expected to change next week, and when it does, top prospect Jurickson Profar could get the call, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports.
Profar, widely regarded as the top position prospect in the minors, has hit .283/.362/.463 with 13 homers and 15 steals for Double-A Frisco this season. The native of Curacao will replace Bryce Harper as MLB’s youngest player once he debuts. Born on Feb. 20, 1993, he’s four months younger than Harper.
While Profar projects as an above average defensive shortstop, the Rangers have prepared him at second base in case he’s initially needed elsewhere. He’s played 21 games there this season and one at third base.
The Rangers still might want to wait until September to promote Profar, figuring that there is very little playing time available for him in the infield at the moment. Until Frisco’s season concludes, it will make more sense to get him 25 at-bats per week in the minors than it would five in the majors.
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.