Lucas Giolito was in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft until an elbow injury ended his high school season.
He fell to the Nationals with the 16th overall pick and signed just before the deadline for $2.925 million. And now after just one minor-league start his elbow is injured again.
Keith Law of ESPN.com reports that Giolito was pulled from his debut after two innings because he showed decreased velocity and the right-hander will be examined later this week by Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Elbow surgery wouldn’t be a death sentence for an 18-year-old pitcher, obviously, and the Nationals would probably still have taken Giolito at No. 16 if they knew he’d need to go under the knife. Even after 12 months on the sidelines and the uncertain nature of the recovery in general his upside would still be much higher than a typical mid-first rounder. And clearly they knew it was a strong possibility.
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.