Clayton Kershaw could miss the start of next season if he needs hip surgery

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Clayton Kershaw was scratched from yesterday’s scheduled start with a hip injury and will be examined by a specialist tomorrow to determine if he needs surgery, leading Dodgers fans to worry that the reigning Cy Young winner might be lost for the remainder of the season.

At this point, however, that might be the least of their concerns, as Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Kershaw could miss the beginning of next season as well if he ends up going under the knife to repair a torn hip labrum.

In fact, Hernandez spoke to “people familiar with his condition” who say Kershaw likely wouldn’t be back in the Dodgers’ rotation until at least mid-May if he has the operation.

These next 36 hours or so figure to test Dodgers fans’ breath-holding ability.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.