Justin Maxwell fractured his left hand in Tuesday’s game and the Astros announced today that he’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks. In his place the Astros have turned to prospect Robbie Grossman as their starting center fielder.
Maxwell was all about power and range, which helped cancel out a .230 batting average, .301 on-base percentage, and poor plate discipline. Grossman is a much different player, offering excellent patience at the plate and very good on-base percentages along with little power and questionable range in center field.
Long term Grossman probably doesn’t have much chance of sticking as a center fielder, but this does give him an opportunity to impress for the next month and perhaps work his way into the Astros’ plans alongside Maxwell.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.
The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.
Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.
Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.