Smokies to take on Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw


Apr 20, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher

Clayton Kershaw

(22) throws from the mound while Los Angeles Dodgers pitching coach

Rick Honeycutt

looks on during warmups before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After missing the first month of the season with a back injury, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will make what he hopes will be his final rehab start tonight against the Chicago Cubs’ Double-A affiliate, the Tennessee Smokies.

According to Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register, Kershaw wasn’t happy about needing another tune-up prior to returning to the big league club, but the organization insisted upon it, given the price tag attached to his left arm.

This offseason, Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension,  and after making one start in the Opening Series in Australia, in which he allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings of work against Arizona.

Last season, the southpaw  went 16-9 with a 1.83 ERA in 236 innings, en route to the National League Cy Young Award, his second such reward in the past three seasons.

Tennessee enters play with a 12-13 mark with a  roster that features some of the organization’s top talents, including Kris Bryant, C.J. Edwards, Dustin Geiger and Jorge Soler. Wednesday’s matchup, in which Kershaw is expected to throw between 80 and 90 pitches, will be a good test for some of the big names in the Cubs’ system, making this a game to watch for Chicago baseball fans.