Cole Hamels
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Cole Hamels expected to be placed on injured list with strained oblique

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Cubs starter Cole Hamels departed Friday’s outing against the Reds with an undisclosed injury in his left side, per a team announcement. Hamels underwent an evaluation after his removal from the game, so a formal diagnosis and timetable for his return to the mound is likely forthcoming later this weekend.

Any way you slice it, it’s an unfortunate development for the 35-year-old left-hander. Entering Friday’s start, Hamels carried a 6-2 record in 16 starts with a 2.92 ERA, 3.1 BB/9, 8.8 SO/9 and 2.3 fWAR through 98 2/3 innings, in many ways showing a marked improvement over his 2018 totals.

According to reports from MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian, manager Joe Maddon expressed some hope that Hamels would make the cut for the National League All-Stars roster — hope that might be somewhat dimmed in light of the southpaw’s alarming exit from the weekend series opener. He lasted just one inning against the Reds, allowing singles to Joey Votto and Yasiel Puig and walking Eugenio Suárez on seven pitches. He threw 22 total pitches and was in the process of warming up for the second inning when he felt discomfort in his left side.

This wouldn’t be the first time Hamels sustained an oblique injury — he missed a full two months with a right oblique strain during the first half of his 2017 campaign with the Rangers — but it appears to be the first time he’s experienced this particular issue in his left side. Exactly how long he’ll be sidelined this time has yet to be determined.

In Hamels’ absence, Mike Montgomery stepped to the mound in the second inning and immediately gave up a leadoff home run to Cincinnati’s Phillip Ervin. The Cubs currently trail the Reds 6-3 in the eighth.

Update, 10:43 PM EDT: Maddon confirmed Hamels’ left oblique injury following the team’s 6-3 loss. While the severity of the injury has not been determined, he’s expected to be placed on the injured list in the days to come.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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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.