Josh Beckett cleared to return from concussion, but won’t pitch until next week

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Josh Beckett passed a series of brain function tests this morning after displaying “mild concussion symptoms” when struck on the head by an errant ball during batting practice Monday and has been cleared to resume light activities, but Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that the Red Sox have scratched him from tomorrow’s scheduled start.

Terry Francona explained that Beckett “will do some biking and some light throwing and see how he progresses from there” before the Red Sox line up his next outing.

And in a sign that the Red Sox aren’t fretting too much about Beckett’s status, Francona joked with reporters that the brain function tests were “hard for him because he’s illiterate … even on a good day, it’s probably not real good.” Given the latest news about Justin Morneau’s now eight-month recovery from a concussion suffered in July, the Red Sox and Beckett should feel very fortunate.

Dodgers acquire Matt Kemp in five-player trade with Braves

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The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.

Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.

Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.