Yankees have talked to Robinson Cano about extension

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Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner told reporters today that “there’s been a conversation or two” with Robinson Cano about a long-term contract extension.

Cano is entering the final season of a deal signed in February of 2008 and will make $15 million before hitting the open market as a free agent.

Cano is a Scott Boras client and the agent typically encourages players to avoid extensions once they near free agency, but then again the Yankees rarely let an in-his-prime star leave. That could mean simply out-bidding everyone else for Cano as a free agent, of course.

Adding to the intrigue is that Cano has a chance to become the highest-paid second baseman of all time. In fact, he almost surely will. Right now Ian Kinsler has the highest average annual salary at $15 million and no second baseman has ever gotten $100 million. That says something about how second basemen tend to age and about how teams tend to value infielders who lack the range/arm to play shortstop or the arm to play third base, but regardless of all that Cano will top $100 million with ease.

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.