Ryan Madson plays catch, but return timetable is uncertain

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Ryan Madson played catch today, throwing for the first time since experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired elbow on February 1.

“He’s starting a progression of about 50 feet,” manager Mike Scioscia said, via the Associated Press. “He felt great after his last [session]. Until he can get out there and get in long toss we’re not going to know exactly where he is.”

Signed to a one-year, $3.5 million deal to serve as the Angels’ closer despite missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery, Madson has little chance to be ready for Opening Day even if he can avoid further setbacks. The good news is that an MRI exam showed no structural damage and Ernesto Frieri is perfectly capable of thriving in the ninth inning if needed.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.

Dodgers can clinch NL West on Friday

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The Dodgers staved off a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Phillies, winning 5-4 on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The win reduced their magic number in the NL West to one, meaning that a win against the Giants at home or a Diamondbacks loss to the Marlins on Friday will result in clinching the division.

Of course, the Dodgers winning and the Diamondbacks losing hasn’t exactly been a sure thing lately. The D-Backs rattled off a 13-game winning streak from August 24 through September 6. The Dodgers lost 11 games in a row from September 2-11 and were on a four-game slide before Thursday’s win.

The Dodgers will send Rich Hill to the mound to start opposite Jeff Samardzija. The Diamondbacks have Zack Greinke opposing Adam Conley.