The Los Angeles Dodgers were back at work on Tuesday morning for the first time since returning from Australia. Not everyone was able to participate however, including Hyun-Jin Ryu, who’s suffering from a toenail injury. The Dodgers pitching staff that once seemed to have more arms than starting slots, is in a bit of flux due to injuries. Also on the mend are Josh Beckett, who’s working his way back from a thumb injury and Zack Greinke, who needs to work on his pitch count after being sidelined with a right calf strain.
One pitcher who’s healthy is Clayton Kershaw, who started the opening game of the 2014 season. Despite some early apprehension from manager Dom Mattingly on potentially starting Kershaw on Opening Day, the U.S. opener and Dodger Stadium opener, it seems as though the southpaw is on track to be two-thirds through that schedule, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
With Greinke pitching Thursday against the Angels, he would be on regular rest starting Tuesday in San Diego. Kershaw likely Sunday night.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 25, 2014
By his standards, Kershaw struggled through Spring Training, going 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA. At one point, it was believed Greinke would start in Kershaw’s place for one of the two Opening Series games with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Greinke’s calf strain all but cemented Kershaw starting in Australia; if Mattingly wasn’t already leaning in that direction. Some of the concern with starting Kershaw for the three marquee games in the early stages of the season was the risk of over working the left-hander.
Kershaw threw a career-high 236 innings last season en route to winning his second Cy Young Award and finishing first in several pitching statistics. 2013 was the fourth consecutive season Kershaw pitched over 200 innings. Kershaw will have had ample time to rest for his forthcoming start against the Padres and how efficient he is on Sunday may affect whether or not he starts five days later when the Dodgers play their first home game of the season.
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