Absent a sitcom-like case of frying-pan-to-the-head-induced amnesia, they won’t let him. But Victor Martinez would love to get behind the plate:
“Hopefully by the end of the season I’ll be able to get behind the plate.” Martinez said he could catch right now if the Tigers asked him to.
“I’m pretty healthy,” he said. “That’s not a concern at all. If they need me (to catch), I’ll definitely be there. It’s not a question. It’s not a question.”
Martinez caught 26 games in 2011. And missed 2012 with an ACL. So, sure, I guess if the playoffs came and the Tigers were in need of an emergency catcher they might put Martinez back there, but I’d be utterly shocked if he actually donned the tools of ignorance for the Tigers again. Heck, even in the playoff scenario it would be sub-optimal given that it would likely cost the Tigers their DH in that situation.
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.