FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported late Saturday night that the Dodgers have made significant progress toward finalizing a seven-year contract extension with left-hander Clayton Kershaw that will wind up being worth “well above” $180 million.
So the young ace was asked about those contract talks before Sunday afternoon’s series finale vs. the Pirates. Courtesy of Los Angeles Times beat writer Dylan Hernandez, here was Kershaw’s response:
“I think the reason we’ve been able to continue discussions for this long is that it’s not been talked about,” Kershaw told reporters. “And now that I’m having to talk about it, it’s a distraction because people are talking about it. I guess you’ll have to talk to the Dodgers as to why it came out now. I don’t love the fact that I have to talk about it.”
“We kind of had an agreement that we weren’t going to talk about it. It didn’t come from our side. I’m going to still hold up my end of the bargain and not talk about it.”
“I don’t know,” concluded Kershaw when asked if the leak might affect the pace of the discussions.
The star 25-year-old has registered an outstanding 1.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 104/31 K/BB ratio in 107 1/3 innings this season. He is currently scheduled to become a free agent after the 2014 campaign.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.