Clayton Kershaw scratched from Sunday start versus Padres with upper back inflammation

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From Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times comes word that Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday night in San Diego because of inflammation in the upper left part of his back. An MRI was taken Wednesday morning and the results were negative, so it is being labeled a minor injury for now.

Kershaw made his 2014 regular-season debut last week in Australia, holding the Diamondbacks to one run over 6 2/3 innings in a 3-1 Dodgers victory. One has to wonder whether the long flight back to camp in Arizona is what caused the upper back injury.

The date of Kershaw’s next start will be determined by his progress in side sessions over the next week.

Kershaw, 26, signed a seven-year, $215 million contract extension with Los Angeles in January.

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UPDATE, 9:13 p.m. ET: A promising follow-up from Tim Brown at Yahoo! Sports:

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.