With Opening Day of the 2019 season less than three weeks away, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw remains on the mend from inflammation in his left shoulder that temporarily halted his throwing program.
After allowing for anti-inflammatory medication to set in over multiple days of inactivity, Kershaw steadily increased his frequency and intensity when playing catch. It led to a bullpen session this week — his first since Feb. 20.
Despite the progress, there is still no timeline for when Kershaw may advance to throwing live batting practice, let alone make a Cactus League start.
In the event Kershaw is sidelined for the start of the regular season, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is confident in the club’s starting pitching depth to withstand his absence, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Roberts also said the Dodgers are comfortable they have starting-pitching depth to get by until ‘“whenever” Kershaw is ready.
Roberts recently conceded there is a fair possibility Kershaw won’t be able to take the mound on Opening Day against the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, he also has not ruled Kershaw out, particularly given his latest progress.
If the left-hander is unable to take the mound March 28, it will snap his franchise record of eight consecutive Opening Day starts.
Two pitchers that figure to benefit from a potential Kershaw disabled list stint are Walker Buehler and Ross Stripling. The former could be pegged with his first career start on Opening Day, although he has yet to appear in a Cactus League game himself. Though, Rich Hill is also on line with his current turns in the rotation.
Stripling, currently on the outside looking in, has already been identified as the pitcher who would slot into the starting rotation if any of its five members are to miss any time.