Just in case there was any doubt that Nyjer Morgan’s tenure in Milwaukee was coming to an end, the Brewers announced today that they have outrighted the outspoken outfielder to Triple-A Nashville. The moves clears him from the 40-man roster and sets the stage for him to become a free agent.
After playing a key part in the Brewers’ NL Central title in 2011, Morgan batted just .239/.302/.308 with three home runs, 16 RBI, 12 stolen bases and a .610 OPS in 122 games this season. The 32-year-old earned $2.35 million in 2012 and is arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter, so he was already an obvious non-tender candidate. According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said today that the club has no intention to attempt to work out a new deal with Morgan.
In other Brewers news, Jose Veras elected to become a free agent today after refusing an assignment to Triple-A Nashville. The 32-year-old right-hander was acquired from the Pirates last December for Casey McGehee and posted a 3.63 ERA and 79/40 K/BB ratio over 67 innings this season.
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.