Clayton Kershaw strikes out nine in final rehab start

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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:

Twins sign Michael Pineda to a two-year deal

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The Twins just announced that they have signed pitcher Michael Pineda to a two-year contract.

Pineda, 28, has a 4.05 career ERA and has struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings over 680 career major league innings.

Pineda underwent Tommy John surgery this past July, so the Twins are buying a 2018 filled mostly with rehab and a pitcher for 2019. As such, the deal is probably not too taxing financially, but could pay off pretty well for them if Pineda comes back strong.