Several teams are dealing with pitching concerns leading up to Opening Day. The Dodgers and Yankees may take the field without their aces to start the year, and the Red Sox are down one pitcher thanks to PEDs. Here are the latest MLB news and notes.
Kershaw’s status up in the air
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has not been ruled out for Opening Day, according to manager Dave Roberts. Kershaw has been on the shelf for most of spring training with a sore left shoulder.
Roberts mentioned that for now, Kershaw is still scheduled to start Opening Day on March 28th, but that may be unlikely based on the progress that still needs to happen over the next couple of weeks.
“I don’t think we’ve made that decision yet, and I know that Honey [pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] has mapped out where we need to be, so right now we’re not ready to make that decision,” Roberts said. “We’re just right now in a day-to-day with Clayton and trying to keep him in a positive state of mind.”
Kershaw, who will turn 31 this month, battled injuries once again last season. The three-time Cy Young winner went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 161.1 innings.
Yankees may use ‘opener’
Thanks to injuries to the starting rotation beginning to pile up, the “opener” may find its way to the Yankees this season. Manager Aaron Boone admitted Wednesday that the opener, or a version of it, may be in play at certain points this season.
“I could see it being something we consider from time to time,” Boone said. “I don’t see it a lot, but yeah, I could see it coming into play on certain occasions.”
The Yankees will likely be without Luis Severino or C.C. Sabathia to start the season. Severino has been shut down for the next two weeks with rotator cuff inflammation, and Sabathia is continuing his recovery from offseason knee surgery.
While those pitchers are out, an opener scenario could be reliever Chad Green starting the game, going two innings or so, and then handing the ball off to a longer reliever or a young starter. Those young starters, which include Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Luis Cessa, could also pitch in a traditional starting role.
Wright suspended for PEDs
Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright was suspended 80 games on Wednesday after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. According to the league, Wright tested positive for growth-hormone-releasing peptide 2, or GHRP-2.
“We couldn’t figure out how this substance got into my body,” Wright said to the media. “But at the end of the day, it’s my responsibility. It falls on me.”
Wright received the test in the offseason, failed, and decided to appeal it. However, after he could not prove it was unintentional, he decided to drop the appeal and accept the suspension.
The suspension will begin right at the beginning of the season. It also means that, should the defending champion Red Sox make the postseason, Wright would be ineligible to play in any playoff games.
With Harper and Machado off the market, rumors are continuing to swirl in regards to Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel. As the final free agent dominos fall, we are officially three weeks away from baseball’s opening day.