The Dodgers expect their top two starters, left-hander Clayton Kershaw and right-hander Walker Buehler, and shortstop Corey Seager to be ready for the beginning of the season, manager Dave Roberts said Sunday (Twitter links via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com). Kershaw – who has been working back from a shoulder issue for two weeks – is set to throw a bullpen session Monday, while Buehler will throw live batting practice again Tuesday or Wednesday. Though Buehler’s not injured, the Dodgers are taking a careful approach with the 24-year-old wunderkind this spring after he experienced a massive innings increase from 2017-18. The Dodgers have also been cautious with Seager, who’s coming off Tommy John surgery and a left hip procedure.
- Manager Scott Servais issued updates on a few key Mariners on Sunday, per Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times and Greg Johns of MLB.com (all Twitter links). Third baseman Kyle Seager, brother of the aforementioned Corey Seager, underwent an MRI on Saturday on his injured left wrist. The results aren’t available yet, however. Outfielder Mallex Smith, who has been shelved the past few weeks because of a strained flexor mass in his right forearm, is making progress and could take batting practice Monday. Reliever Hunter Strickland has been unavailable since last Sunday with lower back tightness, but Servais doesn’t think it’s serious, nor should it keep the former Giant out for much longer.
- The Astros are shutting down second baseman Jose Altuve “for a few days,” manager A.J. Hinch told Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle and other reporters Sunday. Altuve’s battling left side soreness, though the Astros don’t believe it’s anything “alarming,” and they’re hoping the superstar can return to Grapefruit League action late next week, according to Hinch.
- Mets reliever Drew Smith is heading back to New York for an evaluation of his sore right elbow, Tim Healey of Newsday was among those to report. Smith’s attempt to win a season-opening spot in the Mets’ bullpen is on hold as a result. In his first major league action last season, the 25-year-old pitched to a 3.54 ERA/3.66 FIP with 5.79 K/9 and 1.93 BB/9 over 28 innings.