GLENDALE, ARIZONA - The Los Angeles Dodgers could be without Clayton Kershaw for the start of the season as the staff ace begins to rebuild from shoulder soreness that caused him to shut down his spring training.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said “that’s fair” when asked Monday whether his opening-day starter would be unavailable in just over three weeks. The Dodgers open against Arizona on March 28.
“There’s just way too much importance put on the opening-day roster. The No. 1 thing is for him to be ready and to feel confident physically and mentally,” Roberts said, “and when that is, it is.”
Kershaw has made a franchise-record eight consecutive opening day starts, and was tabbed to do so again when the Dodgers arrived in Arizona. But a couple days later, the three-time Cy Young Award winner had some shoulder soreness that caused him to halt his throwing program.
The left-hander began throwing again last week, slowly building up the amount of work and the distance of his throws. He threw again on Monday for the fourth time in five days.
“From everything I hear,” Roberts said, “he’s encouraged.”
The Dodgers have plenty of depth in their starting rotation with Walker Buehler, Rich Hill, Ryu Hyun-jin, Kenta Maeda and Ross Stripling in the mix. Julio Arias has also flashed signs that he is ready for the big leagues, though the Dodgers may want to limit his innings early on.
Hill and Buehler are the likely candidates to start opening day if Kershaw isn’t ready.