Clayton Kershaw cleared for Sunday night start

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Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw made it through an easy 20-pitch bullpen session on Friday afternoon without experiencing any lingering pain or discomfort in his troublesome right hip. He was not sore when he woke up Saturday morning and felt strong Sunday when he met with team doctors.

So, according to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, he has been cleared to return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation on Sunday night against the Reds.

Kershaw hasn’t pitched since September 11 — nearly two full weeks ago — because of a hip impingement.

The 24-year-old boasts a 2.70 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 206/53 K/BB ratio in 206 2/3 innings this season.

Los Angeles is currently three games back of the Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot.

A-Rod to join ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth

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Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.

Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.

The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.

In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.