Clayton Kershaw will make his first start of the 2022 season on Wednesday afternoon in the finale of the Dodgers’ two-game series against the Twins at Target Field in Minnesota.
Manager Dave Roberts told reporters at Coors Field in Denver before Friday’s season opener that Kershaw was healthy, and that this is the best he’s seen Kershaw at the start of spring training in his seven years as Dodgers manager. But after Kershaw missed three months in 2021 with elbow soreness, then lots of offseason rest after a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left elbow, the Dodgers wanted to make sure Kershaw had as much spring training as possible heading into his first regular season start.
Kershaw appeared in four Cactus League games, then threw 75 pitches in five simulated innings on Thursday.
“To have him in the five slot allowed for him to get the full build up,” Roberts said Friday. “For him to go five and 75, then to go into his first start gives us a better chance, not only that day but days following, with him but managing the bullpen.”
Dave Roberts talks pregame with @kirsten_watson about his #OpeningDay expectations and an update on Victor Gonzalez. pic.twitter.com/yAFqCuCXoT— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 8, 2022
Kershaw pitching Wednesday means Andrew Heaney starts the opener against the Twins on Tuesday. After Walker Buehler on opening day, the Dodgers will have right-hander Tony Gonsolin start Saturday against the Rockies, followed by left-hander Julio Urías on Sunday.
Some other notes from Roberts’ pregame session:
- Victor González felt soreness in his left elbow last week, and though the soreness has since dissipated, per Roberts, the team was being cautious in placing him on the 10-day injured list.
- Roberts compared Phil Bickford’s delayed arm readiness in camp to that of Brusdar Graterol last season. Bickford is healthy now, but still needs to progress, including pitching more than one inning and go on back-to-back days before getting called up.
- González, Bickford, Caleb Ferguson, and Tommy Kahnle, the latter two on the injured list while rehabbing from 2020 Tommy John surgeries, will be ready somewhere between 3-4... weeks, says Roberts.
- More Roberts, from Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic: Justin Turner, the DH on Friday, will play third base on Saturday. DH at-bats this year will largely be split between Turner, Max Muncy, and Will Smith