As expected Alex Rodriguez is off the disabled list and in the Yankees’ lineup for this afternoon’s game, batting cleanup and starting at designated hitter against the Rays.
Rodriguez has been out since mid-July with a broken hand and went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts on a brief minor-league rehab assignment at Single-A, so expecting an immediate impact is probably optimistic.
Rodriguez was having the worst season of his career before the injury, but hitting .276 with 15 homers and an .806 OPS in 94 games is still plenty solid production at designated hitter or third base and in the 37-year-old’s absence the Yankees were just 18-18.
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.