Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Unaffected By Loss Of Brett Anderson
Jon SooHoo-Los Angeles Dodgers

Dating back to his opening press conference at Dodger Stadium in October 2014, Los Angeles Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has consistently stressed the importance of having pitching depth throughout the organization.

For as much as Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke anchored the top of the starting rotation last season, the backend was a revolving door. Brandon McCarthy (Tommy John surgery) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (shoulder surgery) were both lost for the year by late-May.

McCarthy managed to make four starts before his season-ending operation, while Ryu never took the mound in 2015 outside of two Cactus League starts.

In response to losing Greinke to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the offseason, the Dodgers signed Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda. Coupled with the organization’s young pitching prospects, Los Angeles boasted unrivaled pitching depth.

Still, Friedman maintained he never felt as though the Dodgers could have enough pitchers. His concern has been justified over the last week with news Ryu won’t be ready by Opening Day, and Anderson expected to miss three to five months after undergoing arthroscopic back surgery on Thursday.

While the loss of Anderson places further strain on the starting rotation, Kershaw said his mindset remains the same, via ESPN’s Doug Padilla:

“It doesn’t really affect me,” Kershaw said. “My goal is every fifth day to pitch nine innings and not give up a run. That’s my goal. Regardless of who is here, that’s kind of individually my goal and that doesn’t change with who is in the rotation.”

Kershaw did concede the added pressure may have an adverse impact on those who are expected to help fill the void:

“Any time you have injuries, you just have to have one more guy almost pitch above expectations,” Kershaw said. “It’s one thing to play to the expectations you have individually that you’re supposed to do. But when guys are constantly having to step up and step up, it gets tough. We’ll see.”

The Dodgers’ ace threw two scoreless innings with two strikeouts against the Chicago White Sox in his first start of Spring Training. Kazmir takes the ball Friday, and Maeda on Saturday for their respective debuts with the Dodgers.

Anderson was scheduled start Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants. Los Angeles will now spend the next month evaluating their options for a fifth starter. Brandon Beachy, Mike Bolsinger and Zach Lee figure to be among those who will receive a long look.

While the focus was previously on replacing Greinke, the Dodgers must now also fill a void left by Anderson, who owned an MLB-best 66.3 ground ball percentage last season, and set career highs in starts (31) and innings pitched (180.1).