Clayton Kershaw placed on “submaximal throwing program,” now likely to miss all of April

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Either the Dodgers are playing it extra-carefully with their $215 million ace — which would be completely understandable — or Clayton Kershaw’s back injury is more serious than anyone involved is willing to say. These updates come Tuesday from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times

That makes it a near-impossibility that Kershaw will be able to return this month to the active roster, and it’s probably even safe to rule him out through the early part of May. Perhaps the Dodgers shouldn’t have allowed the 26-year-old left-hander to throw 102 pitches in his regular-season debut halfway around the world.

This is good news for the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, who may have just become the favorite for the NL Cy Young Award. Adam Wainwright also now has better odds after last year’s second-place finish.

Arizona Diamondbacks, Tony La Russa part ways

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The Arizona Diamondbacks just announced that they are parting ways with Tony La Russa at the end of the month.

La Russa served as the club’s “Chief Baseball Officer” from 2015-16. For the last year he was styled “Chief Baseball Analyst.” That’s a nice way to saying that he was pushed aside when the club fired his hand-picked general manager Dave Stewart and brought in Mike Hazen to run the club a year ago. La Russa was stripped of his powers, but was told he could hang around as an advisor. Most didn’t think he’d actually take the club up on that offer, but he did. By all accounts he was a pretty unobtrusive presence around the team this year, offering counsel and insight when asked but not making things awkward the way having the old boss around might do.

I suppose that can only last so long, however. The Dbacks had considerably more success without La Russa in charge in 2017 than they had with him in charge the previous couple of years. At some point you just part ways. That point is now.