Scott Feldman has been in and out of the Rangers’ rotation all season, but it looks like he’ll finish the year in the bullpen after a demotion there yesterday.
Ron Washington decided to make a change after Feldman coughed up six runs in just 2.2 innings against the Mariners on Saturday, so the Rangers will bump him to the bullpen while moving rookie Martin Perez into the rotation.
Perez made three starts for the Rangers earlier this season, allowing seven runs in 17 innings, and tossed 4.1 scoreless innings Saturday in relief of Feldman. He’s been considered one of the game’s top pitching prospects for the past 3-4 years, but Perez’s numbers in the minors this season weren’t particularly impressive and the Rangers are definitely taking a risk by relying on the 21-year-old.
On the other hand Feldman went 5-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 20 starts for a team that’s 87-59, so Perez won’t have to be great to represent a major upgrade.
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.