Ben Francisco was drafted by the Indians in 2002, played in their system and on the big club through 2009 and then was cast out into the cold, cold non-Ohio world. After tours through Philly, Toronto, Houston and Tampa Bay, with those last three teams all employing him during the 2012 season. He has returned home, however, as the Indians have signed the outfielder to a minor league deal. Well, to his professional home. Dude is form California.
He’s 31 now, and has a career line of .257/.326/.455 with 49 homers in 1,721 career plate appearances. Given how well the organization knows him and given how thin the Indians’ outfield is, he stands a pretty good chance of finding a big league job this year.
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.