Strategy prioritized by Dodgers with placement of Clayton Kershaw 5th in starting rotation

Not only has Walker Buehler supplanted Clayton Kershaw as the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opening day starter for the 2022 season, but the southpaw is not expected to pitch during the three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.

The Dodgers instead picked Tony Gonsolin and Julio Urias as their probables for the remainder of the opening series at Coors Field. Kershaw won’t make his 2022 regular season debut until Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.

“Just kinda how it went,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of Kershaw moving into fifth in the starting rotation. “We talked about this season and the start of this season in terms of pitching training and giving him the best opportunity.

“So having him in all five slots allowed him to get the full build up, so now for him to go five (innings) and 75 (pitch), to then get into his first start, gives us a better luck not only that day but following days with him and managing the bullpen.

Kershaw threw 75 pitches in five innings in a mock game at Dodger Stadium on Thursday. It happened on what would have been a normal turn in the rotation, as Kershaw had previously thrown 53 pitches and had six strikeouts in his last spring training tune-up on April 2.

Overall, Kershaw pitched 11.2 innings and allowed four earned runs in four Cactus League starts.

Is Clayton Kershaw healthy?

After entering the offseason recovering from a second brush with a left flexor tendon injury, Kershaw came away encouraged by his health after spring training.

Roberts echoed that sentiment and earlier in the week said injuries weren’t a factor as the Dodgers continued to deliberate on how their opening day rotation would be set up, and reiterated that. position Friday.

“I told Clayton it’s as good as I’ve seen on Day 1 of spring training in my seven years with him. He’s really well placed,” Roberts assured.

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