Braves exercise options on Brian McCann, Tim Hudson, Paul Maholm

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Atlanta has exercised its options on catcher Brian McCann, right-hander Tim Hudson, and left-hander Paul Maholm, bringing all three players back for 2013 at a combined cost of $27.5 million.

McCann faded badly in the second half and was benched in the Wild Card playoff game, but it would have been tough for the Braves to justify cutting loose a 28-year-old six-time All-Star over $12 million.

Hudson at $9 million and Maholm at $6.5 million were no-brainers, and the Braves acquired Maholm from the Cubs with the idea that he’d be around for more than just a few months.

Hudson is 37 years old, but has thrown 665 innings with a 3.22 ERA since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-2009, including a 3.62 ERA in 179 innings this year. Maholm posted a 3.54 ERA in 11 starts for the Braves after coming over in a July 30 deal for Jaye Chapman and Arodys Vizcaino.

Clayton Kershaw completes spring training with a 0.00 ERA

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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.

In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.

The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.

The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.