In a surprise to no one, the Los Angeles Dodgers have named Clayton Kershaw their Opening Day starter.
Kershaw will start the 2021 season off for the Dodgers at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies. Thought was given to having Kershaw line up to start the home opener against the Washington Nationals, but ultimately it was decided that Kershaw would be allowed to fully participate in the Dodgers World Series ring ceremony that will take place before the game that day.
“We all talked collectively,” Manager Dave Roberts said. “There’s really no wrong decision, I feel just that he’s earned it, he’s the right guy for the spot for 2021. For every reason, I just think it makes the most sense.”
This will be the ninth Opening Day start for Kershaw, who missed the last two seasons’ openers due to injury. He is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA though his eight Opening Day starts.
On the injury front, there are updates on a few Dodgers who have yet to see action in Spring Training games.
Cody Bellinger is set to make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday, when he will play centerfield. Bellinger is recovering from shoulder surgery over the offseason. Roberts said that Bellinger’s batting stance is “a little more open” than where he finished the season last year.
Joe Kelly is seemingly progressing, but probably at too slow of a pace to be on the Opening Day roster. Roberts had stated previously that Kelly would need to see time in some in Cactus League games before making the determination, but no date for that to happen has been announced.
Brusdar Graterol also has yet to pitch in a Cactus League game, but is still said to be progressing faster than Kelly.
The first round of cuts happened on Monday. 28 players were either optioned or reassigned to minor league camp.
The following players were reassigned to minor league camp:
With the camp roster now sitting at 45, the remaining players will get more playing time, although those sent to the minor league side can still appear in Cactus League games. Notable Non-Roster Invites still in camp include Jimmy Nelson, Brandon Morrow, Mike Kickham, James Pazos, Enny Romero and Matt Davidson.
Teams have reached the point in Spring Training were all games will now be nine innings, and teams are no longer allowed to roll over innings if a pitcher is amassing too many pitches in an inning. This happened to Julio Urías in Sunday’s game. He was removed from the first inning after throwing 29 pitches, having struck out three and leaving the bases loaded. His defense had not helped him out very much. He did re-enter the game to pitch the second inning, eventually allowing a walk in the third inning before he was done for the evening.
The Dodgers have four day games this week before an evening game on Friday. The team will not have another off day until March 24.