Clayton Kershaw has had a heck of a month. He tossed a 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Rockies on June 18, and after today’s performance in which he held the Cardinals scoreless over seven innings, he has not allowed a run in his last 28 innings. Aaron Hill drove in the last run Kershaw allowed, doubling off of him in the third inning on June 13.
Kershaw wraps up the month of June with a 0.82 ERA, 61 strikeouts, and four walks in 44 innings. According to Baseball Reference, the only other pitchers to strikeout 60 or more while walking five or fewer in a month are Curt Schilling (62/2, May 2002) and Sandy Koufax (60/5, September/October 1963).
On the season, Kershaw is 9-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, and a 107/11 K/BB ratio in 79 1/3 innings. He’s still 26 years old, by the way.
With the Giants suffering a sweep at home at the hands of the Reds and the Dodgers’ Kershaw-aided victory over the Cardinals, the two NL West teams are locked up in a virtual first place tie. As recently as June 8, the Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”