Bad news for Red Sox prospect Mookie Betts: manager John Farrell considers Shane Victorino the current favorite for the job in right field. Farrell said, “If Shane Victorino is fully capable and fully healthy, he’s our right fielder,” per Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.
Victorino, 34, logged just 30 games last season due to recurring hamstring problems and a bulging disk in his back. He had been coming off of a very productive 2013 season with the Red Sox, swatting 15 home runs and swiping 21 bases.
The Red Sox have Hanley Ramirez in left field and Rusney Castillo in center. With Farrell’s vote of confidence for Victorino, that likely leaves Betts headed to Triple-A to start the season barring injury or a great spring showing on the youngster’s part. However, neither Victorino nor Ramirez are strong bets to stay healthy over the course of 162 games, so there’s a decent chance Betts finds playing time at some point anyway.
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.