The Brewers placed second baseman Jonathan Villar on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain after he suffered an injury during Friday’s 8-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Villar tweaked his back while diving for a ground ball in the eighth inning and had to be removed from the field on a cart when he was unable to stand after the play. Postgame comments from manager Craig Counsell indicated that Villar may have sustained the injury due to the force with which he slammed into the ground.
While the Brewers’ infielder was initially diagnosed with back spasms, the injury appears to be more severe and will require a stint on the disabled list. Prior to the incident, Villar was batting .213/.283/.342 with six home runs and a .626 OPS over his first 59 games of 2017. He went 2-for-5 on Friday with a base hit and RBI double.
With Villar sidelined, the club recalled top outfield prospect Lewis Brinson from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday. Brinson slashed .312/.397/.503 with six home runs and a .900 OPS through 45 games for the Sky Sox.
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.