After a second rehab start earlier this week, Clayton Kershaw will make his 2019 debut for the Dodgers next Monday night.
After three straight injury shortened seasons, Clayton Kershaw battled a shoulder issue right away in spring training. His streak of Opening Day starts for the Dodgers ended at eight, but there’s good news for the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw will make his season debut next Monday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
After not pitching in a game all spring, Kershaw ramped up over two minor league rehab starts He threw 61 pitches over 4.1 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on April 4, allowing two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He got up to 78 pitches over six innings Tuesday night with Double-A Tulsa, allowing two runs on five hits (two home runs) with six strikeouts and zero walks. On that schedule he would be in line to pitch Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers, but Kershaw will get pushed back an extra day.
Kershaw’s return is coming at a good time for the Dodgers. Hyun-Jin Ryu, who got the Opening Day nod, went on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain this week and is expected to be out until the end of April. Rich Hill (knee) has yet to make his first start of the season, but he is throwing bullpen sessions with an idea he’ll be able to join Los Angeles’ rotation before April is over.
The lineup Kershaw will face Monday night is sure to have at least one familiar face.
Former Dodgers’ outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp were sent to the Reds in an offseason trade. Puig should be in the lineup, since he’s the regular right fielder for Cincinnati. Kemp has not been hitting well to start the season (.143 with 14 strikeouts and one extra base hit), but he had a three-game hitting streak entering Thursday and since he’s a right-handed hitter there’s a good chance he’ll be in lineup against Kershaw Monday night.