Evan Gattis caught all nine innings for the Braves in last night’s rain-delayed victory over the Mets and now, about eight hours after the final out, he’s headed to the disabled list with an oblique strain.
Gattis has been a fantastic story, finally getting a chance in the majors as a 26-year-old rookie and taking advantage of it by smacking 14 homers and 11 doubles in 163 at-bats for a .577 slugging percentage.
Unfortunately for Gattis oblique injuries tend to require more than the minimum 15-day stay on the disabled list, so the Braves will turn back to Gerald Laird as Brian McCann’s backup and be without Gattis’ big presence as a late-inning bench bat.
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.