Andre Ethier aiming to return for Game 3 of NLCS

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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier played nearly 13 whole innings in Friday night’s NLCS Game 1 loss to the Cardinals and woke up on Saturday morning with renewed soreness in his troublesome lower left leg. Ethier was on the bench for Game 2 on Saturday afternoon but the situation has apparently improved.

According to beat writers Dylan Hernandez and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, Ethier is “confident” that he will be able to return to the starting lineup in Game 3 on Monday at Dodger Stadium. Sunday’s day off should help matters.

Ethier is 1-for-9 with two walks and four strikeouts so far in the 2013 postseason. Skip Schumaker played center field in NLCS Game 2 on Saturday and will probably fill in again in Game 3 if Ethier can’t go.

The status of shortstop Hanley Ramirez (rib cage) is still unclear.

Tigers release Francisco Rodriguez

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Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.

The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.

While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.

The Red Sox sign Jhonny Peralta

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The Red Sox have signed third baseman Jhonny Peralta to a minor-league deal. He’ll report to Pawtucket.

Peralta, 35, hit a paltry .204/.259/.204 in 58 plate appearances for the Cardinals this year. But with Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list — and ineffective when he hasn’t been — the Sox could use some infield depth.

This is the second former Tiger that former Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski has picked up today, after signing Doug Fister. No word if he’s kicking the tires on Andy Dirks or Brennan Boesch.