It’s been a fait accompli for weeks now, but Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts made it official today that Clayton Kershaw will open the season on the injured list (link via Jorge Castillo of the L.A. Times). Kershaw has been slowed by inflammation in his left shoulder for much of the spring and has not been pitching in Cactus League games recently. He’ll face live hitters tomorrow, per Castillo. There’s no indication at present that Kershaw will miss a substantial portion of the upcoming season. Castillo, in fact, notes that Kershaw won’t pitch in the upcoming series of exhibition games against the Angels, beginning on Sunday, because withholding him will allow the Dodgers to back-date his IL placement by the maximum three days (thus creating the possibility of an earlier return). It’s been a month since Kershaw has thrown in a game setting, though, so there’s still some work to be done in terms of getting him back up to speed.
A few more updates on some notable injury situations…
- Both Jeremy Jeffress and Jimmy Nelson will open the season on the injured list, Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed today (Twitter links, with video, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt). The concern regarding each player appears to be relatively mild, as Stearns even emphasized that Jeffress isn’t so much hurt as he is dealing with weakness in his shoulder while trying to build up strength. Stearns declined to place a definitive timeline on either pitcher but indicated that it’s plausible that Jeffress could return to the team before the end of April. Nelson, meanwhile, will jump right into rehab games for Triple-A San Antonio to open the season, and he’ll be further evaluated after his first couple of starts.
- Cubs fans braced for bad news when trainers visited Yu Darvish on the mound today and the righty exited the game, however the ailment in question proved to be minor. The Cubs announced that Darvish exited the game with a blister, and Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune tweets that the right-hander doesn’t even expect to miss a start. Darvish cut the blister open while throwing a breaking ball on what proved to be his final pitch of the afternoon.
- Phillies right-hander Tommy Hunter and outfield hopeful Roman Quinn are expected to open the 2019 season on the injured list, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki writes. Hunter has been slowed by a flexor strain this spring, while Quinn is sidelined for now due to an oblique strain. Quinn’s placement on the IL buys the Phillies a little bit of time in determining how to sort out their outfield picture. With Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen locked into the corners, the Phillies have four remaining outfielders — Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr and Quinn — with minimal at-bats to go around. That situation is complicated further by the fact that Altherr and Quinn are both out of minor league options. Something will have to give eventually, but until Quinn is up to full strength, the Phillies can continue to keep him and Altherr both in the organization.