NL West Notes: Kershaw, Lovullo, Tovar

Clayton Kershaw tossed 59 innings over four innings of a minor league rehab start today, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya) that Kershaw will be activated from the 15-day injured list for his next outing.  This would put Kershaw in line to start against the Giants next weekend, as the two NL West rivals clash in a big series.

Kershaw was placed on the IL on May 13 due to right SI joint inflammation, and while the injury wasn’t considered to be a big problem, any absence is cause for concern given both Kershaw’s lengthy injury history and his importance to the L.A. rotation.  Now in his 15th season, the future Hall-of-Famer is still in fine form, with a 1.80 ERA, 29.4% strikeout rate, and a tiny 2.8% walk rate over his first 30 innings of the 2022 campaign.

More from the NL West…

  • While the Diamondbacks have a modest 26-29 record, that is still a vast improvement from their 77-145 mark in 2020-21, and it has led to some renewed belief in manager Torey Lovullo.  “Some front office officials have urged ownership to give [Lovullo] an extension,” USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes, but ownership is holding off for the time being.  The skipper is already under control beyond this season, as the extension signed last September guaranteed Lovullo’s deal for the 2022 season and added a club option for 2023, so the D’Backs technically don’t need to act with immediate urgency in locking Lovullo up.  This is Lovullo’s sixth season with Arizona, with an overall 363-400 record and one postseason appearance on his resume, plus NL Manager Of The Year honors in 2017.
  • Ezequiel Tovar is showing why the Rockies consider him their shortstop of the future, as the 20-year-old is hitting .317/.398/.581 with 11 homers and 16 steals (in 17 chances) over 211 plate appearances at Double-A Hartford.  This offensive surge is very promising, as consistent hitting was considered the last piece of the puzzle for a player who is already considered a superb defender.  As The Denver Post’s Patrick Saunders notes, there is precedent for the Rox moving fast with promising shortstops, as Trevor Story played only 61 games at Triple-A and Troy Tulowitzki skipped Triple-A entirely prior to his big league debut.  Given that Tovar missed a full year of game development due to the canceled 2020 minor league season, the Rockies may not be quite as aggressive with a promotion this time around, but Tovar is certainly drawing attention.  Baseball America bumped Tovar all way up to the #26 position on their midseason ranking of the game’s top 100 prospects.

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