Clayton Kershaw to make 2019 debut on Monday

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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.

 

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.