Nationals showing “heavy interest” in Javier Vazquez


The Nationals have a loaded starting rotation in Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, Dan Haren and Ross Detwiler.

But they’re thinking about adding some depth.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Washington front office is beginning to show “heavy interest” in free agent right-hander Javier Vazquez, who is said to be considering a return to the major leagues after sitting out for the entire 2012 season.

Nightengale says the scouts who have watched Vazquez pitch in the Puerto Rican Winter League are “raving” about him. The 36-year-old is reportedly hitting 95 mph with his fastball with some regularity.

Vazquez posted a strong 3.69 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 162/50 K/BB ratio across 192 2/3 innings (32 starts) in 2011 for the Marlins. He’s expected to wait until after the World Baseball Classic to sign with a team.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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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.