Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reported last month that Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik signed a contract extension last year that would keep him in his current gig through 2014. M’s president Chuck Armstrong refused to comment on that story for weeks, but that changed Tuesday.
“Yes, Jack will be back,” Armstrong told Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times before the Mariners’ game against the Royals on Tuesday night at Safeco Field. Armstrong declined to go into any further details about Jack Z’s status, citing “club policy.”
The Mariners have gone 356-449 in Zduriencik’s tenure. That’s a wretched .442 winning percentage.
“You always operate on the basis that you’re going to keep doing the job,” Zduriencik said in a short interview after Armstrong’s confirmation. “That’s what I’ve been doing. It’s been business as usual.”
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.