For the first time since 2010, Clayton Kershaw won’t be the Opening Day starter for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The left-handed Kershaw was ruled out of the March 28 opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday due to the persistent shoulder inflammation he has dealt with all spring. He has yet to pitch in a spring training game.
“Talking to Clayton and, obviously, looking at the schedule, he’s not going to start Opening Day,” manager Dave Roberts told reporters. “When he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’s going to pitch for us. He’s supportive and he understands he wants to put himself in the best position to help himself and the ballclub.
“When’s he’s built up to where he feels he can help us, then it’s moot. We’re all on the same page.”
Kershaw has started a club-record eight straight openers. The last Opening Day starter for the Dodgers not named Kershaw was Vicente Padilla in 2010.
Roberts said it was unlikely Kershaw will begin the season on the active roster.
Kershaw last pitched Sunday when he threw a bullpen session. He is scheduled to throw batting practice on Wednesday.
Roberts didn’t announce an Opening Day starter on Monday, but right-hander Walker Buehler is definitely in the mix.
However, Buehler also hasn’t pitched this spring due to his own shoulder issues. He is scheduled to pitch three innings on Tuesday.
Kershaw, who turns 31 on Tuesday, has pitched nearly 2,100 innings and struck out 2,275 batters in his decorated 11-year career. He is 153-69 overall with a 2.39 ERA and has won three National League Cy Young Awards.
Kershaw was 9-5 last season with a 2.73 ERA in 26 starts but has experienced back issues in each of the past three seasons. He has guided the Dodgers to two consecutive appearances in the World Series.
Buehler, 24, went 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA in 24 appearances (23 starts) last season while finishing third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
Veteran left-hander Rich Hill also is a candidate to start the opener. The 39-year-old Hill was 11-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 25 appearances (24 starts) last season.
–Field Level Media