C.J. Nitkowski may soon find himself back in the majors for the first time since 2005.
We mentioned about a month ago that Nitkowski had signed a minor league contract with the Mets. It was essentially a last-ditch effort to keep his career alive. And boy has he taken advantage of the opportunity. Now using a sidearm delivery, the 39-year-old southpaw has 13 strikeouts over 10 1/3 scoreless innings between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo.
According to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, Nitkowski’s strong performance now has him “on the radar” for a call-up when rosters expand in September.
“He is certainly in the conversation,” a team official told Martino. “If he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll be up.”
The Mets obviously don’t have a lot going for them at this point of the season, but stories like this are what September call-ups are all about. Heck, given the state of the team’s bullpen, they could probably use the guy right now.
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.