The Dodgers just announced that Clayton Kershaw will make his 2019 debut against the Cincinnati Reds in Los Angeles on Monday.
Thus endeth the minor league rehab. Kershaw pitched in two games in Oklahoma, going four and a third innings while striking out six in his first outing for Oklahoma City and going six innings while striking out six for Double-A Tulsa on Tuesday. Kershaw said he was happy with his pitch count after Tuesday’s performance. The club was going to wait a day to make sure he wasn’t feeling any unusual after effects yesterday, so their announcement that he’s good to go for Monday means he’s feeling fine.
He’ll be returning just in time for the Dodgers who just lost Hyun-Jin Ryu to a groin injury. The club is still waiting for Rich Hill to get back as well. In their absence L.A. has done well, primarily on the power of its offense, but they’ve dropped three in a row now and can’t expect to put up ten runs every other day forever. They could use their ace back.
Kershaw has been bitten by the injury bug in each of the last three seasons. He last pitched 30 games in a season in 2015. Last year he went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and a 155/29 K/BB ratio in 161.1 innings across 26 starts. The Dodgers are hoping he’s back for good now.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.