Clayton Kershaw should be activated next week.
The Dodgers’ ace left-hander made his second (and likely final) minor league rehab start on Wednesday evening for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts, yielding two runs but fanning nine batters over five solid innings against the Southern League affiliate of the Chicago Cubs. Kershaw threw 56 pitches in his rehab debut last Friday night with High-A Rancho Cucamonga and made it to 86 pitches Wednesday in Chattanooga. In his next outing — which will probably be Monday against the Washington Nationals — his pitch count can jump near 100.
Kershaw has been on the disabled list since March 29 with a teres major muscle strain — the same injury Michael Pineda suffered this week. Kershaw has been limited to one regular-season start since signing his $215 million contract extension in January, and that outing was at the Sydney Cricket Ground in Australia.
A touching moment from Kershaw’s start Wednesday for the Lookouts:
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.