Lefty Martin Perez, considered the front runner for the Rangers’ #5 spot in the rotation, suffered a fracture of the ulna bone when a line drive was hit back up the middle and struck him in this afternoon’s spring training game against the Mariners. Perez hadn’t allowed a hit in his three innings of work prior to the injury.
The top prospect, soon to be 22 years old, could return in May. In 38 innings in the Majors last year, Perez posted a 5.45 ERA. Baseball America has listed him in their top-100 rankings in each of the last five years.
Justin Grimm is fighting for the fifth rotation spot as well, but gave up six runs in 2.1 innings after entering the game following Perez’s removal. Mike Peasley points out that the Rangers wouldn’t necessarily need a fifth starter until the eighth game of the season due to two off-days.
The Rangers have “remained in contact” with free agent starter Kyle Lohse’s agent Scott Boras. The Perez injury may open up the door for Lohse.
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.