Kershaw could start Opening Day on strict pitch count

Photo of Kershaw could start Opening Day on strict pitch count
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Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw's streak of Opening Day starts may not be in jeopardy after all. He just might not go very deep into the game.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he's considering a scenario in which Kershaw gets the start but is limited to a strict pitch count with relievers pitching the bulk of the game, according to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register.

Likewise, the team may aim to keep young right-hander Walker Buehler on a short leash early on, so the Dodgers may lean on the bullpen for the early portions of the season.

"Yeah, for sure," Roberts said. "But we still have to be on the same page with the two guys, see if it makes sense for them. They’ve got to believe in that, feel good about it, and we as well from a roster standpoint."

The 30-year-old Kershaw has been battling shoulder soreness this spring, which had put his status for Opening Day in doubt. The last pitcher other than the seven-time All-Star to kick off the season for the Dodgers was Vicente Padilla in 2010.

Kershaw threw 20 pitches on Monday, the first time he's thrown off a mound in more than two weeks. It was a step in the right direction, and he said the session was encouraging for his regular-season prognosis.

"Good day. Good step forward for sure," Kershaw said. "Felt great. It was another good day and I’ll take that right now. Just keep moving forward and start building up."

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