Edinson Volquez throws successfully off a mound

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volquez cap.JPGEdinson Volquez underwent Tommy John surgery last August and is expected to miss the entire 2010 season.  But on Sunday, according to MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon, he took a major step in his ongoing recovery from the elbow ligament replacement surgery. 

Volquez, 26, threw 30 pitches off a mound at about 50 percent intensity and plans to attempt 45 throws later this week.  He will remain at the Reds’ spring training complex when the rest of the team heads north in about 10 days and has a long recovery road yet to travel, but it’s great to hear that he has avoided setbacks thus far.  Volquez was 4-2 last season with a 4.35 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in nine starts and is the proud owner of a 24-19 record over his first five major league seasons.  Cincinnati could certainly use him this year, and perhaps they’ll get him back by late August.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.