Tigers could prefer Brian Wilson for closer


It was reported earlier this week that the Tigers and veteran closer Joe Nathan had “mutual interest,” but ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the team may end up going in a different direction.

Wilson sat out most of the 2013 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but he was very impressive after signing with the Dodgers in July, posting a 0.66 ERA and 13/4 K/BB ratio over 13 2/3 regular innings before delivering six scoreless innings during the playoffs. The 31-year-old right-hander has a track record of success as a closer, but he likely won’t cost as much as Nathan, who is coming off two outstanding seasons in his late-30s. That could be significant for the Tigers, who are already looking a a monster payroll for 2014.

The Indians and Rockies are among the other teams who are reportedly interested in Wilson. The Yankees have already been ruled out as a possibility due to their facial hair policy.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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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.