There’s still no official timetable for Joey Votto’s return, but the Reds first baseman finally sounds confident that he’ll be back in the lineup fairly soon.
Here’s some of what he told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
I’ve come a long way. I feel like I can’t put day on it. But I feel like I’ve come a long way. I don’t think it will be too much longer.
Votto hasn’t played since undergoing knee surgery in mid-July and required a second “minor” surgery two weeks ago after suffering a setback. He was having an amazing season when he went down, hitting .342 with an NL-leading 1.069 OPS, yet somehow the Reds have gone 26-12 without Votto in the lineup.
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.