After seven seasons as the Tigers’ third base coach Gene Lamont is shifting to bench coach for 2013, with manager Jim Leyland stressing that the move wasn’t performance-based.
Leyland called Lamont “as good as any third base coach in the American League without question” and “a great baseball mind who will be there with me on the bench.”
As a 65-year-old former manager sitting alongside Leyland on the bench certainly seems like a more natural role for Lamont. Tom Brookens will shift from first base coach to third base coach and Rafael Belliard will go from infield coach to first base coach.
John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press notes that in most cases bench coach is considered a promotion from third base coach, although Leyland had gone without a bench coach for years now.
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.