Ker­shaw un­likely to start open­ing day

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JORGE CASTILLO

For the last few weeks, since Clayton Ker­shaw’s shoul­der barked so loudly that ig­nor­ing it be­came treach­er­ous, Dodgers man­ager Dave Roberts has de­clined to shut down the pos­si­bil­ity of the left­hander start­ing on open­ing day. He still hasn’t; with Ker­shaw, he main­tains, any­thing is pos­si­ble. But on Fri­day, with less than two weeks un­til the Dodgers be­gin the sea­son, Roberts ac­knowl­edged the ob­vi­ous.

“It’s un­likely,” Roberts said. “Un­likely is fair. I don’t want to close the door, but it’s more, ob­vi­ously, when you look at the cal­en­dar, it’s more un­likely.”

Ker­shaw, 30, has been the Dodgers’ open­ing-day starter the past eight sea­sons. Vi­cente Padilla was the last Dodger not named Ker­shaw to toe the rub­ber in Game No. 1, in 2010. On Feb. 19, Roberts an­nounced Ker­shaw would start the game for the ninth con­sec­u­tive year. Ker­shaw ceased throw­ing less than a week later. His spring, one in which he hoped to lay the ground­work for a resur­gence af­ter bat­tling in­juries last sea­son, had been hi­jacked.

He even­tu­ally started a throw­ing pro­gram, play­ing catch un­til he was deemed ready to throw off a mound. Ker­shaw has logged two bullpen ses­sions and is sched­uled to throw a third ses­sion on Mon­day. He didn’t throw any break­ing pitches in the first two, but is ex­pected to in­cor­po­rate his en­tire ar­se­nal in his next ses­sion. Ker­shaw then has nine days be­fore the March 28 open­ing day.

“Clayton is on board with what­ever our train­ing staff sup­ports,” Roberts said. “So we’re all synced up and es­sen­tially tak­ing it day to day.”

Roberts in­sisted Ker­shaw could make an ab­bre­vi­ated start – three or four in­nings – on open­ing day. The same could hap­pen with Walker Buehler, who is sched­uled to pitch in his first Cac­tus League game on Mon­day or Tues­day.

“That’s why, for me, I don’t think it’s re­spon­si­ble for me to close the door just to say he’s not,” Roberts said. “Be­cause that’s not the truth. And what­ever ca­pac­ity, how you struc­ture the ’pen will ob­vi­ously re­flect that. But we’re not pre­pared to close the door yet.”


Los An­ge­les Dodgers’ Clayton Ker­shaw makes a play dur­ing a spring train­ing work­out Feb. 13.

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