Jonny Venters, dealing with a sore left elbow, will see Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Though it’s never a good sign when your pitcher has to stop by Andrews’ office, the Braves aren’t worried yet. Via David O’Brien:
The Braves are cautiously optimistic about their lefty setup man, but didn’t want to speculate much about the injury.
“It seems like a sprain of some sort, or strain,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “We’ll let Jim Andrews tell us what his findings are once he sees him. Until Jim sees him, we just won’t know.”
Over the last three seasons, Venters has established himself as one of the best lefty relievers in the game, posting an aggregate 2.23 ERA in 230 innings. Though losing Venters hurts, the Braves still have two other lefties in the bullpen in Eric O’Flaherty and Luis Avilan.
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.