Giants may take Tim Lincecum out of the starting rotation

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For the third consecutive season, Tim Lincecum has an ERA of 4.37 or higher, not exactly the performance the Giants envisioned when they signed the right-hander to a two-year, $35 million deal in October 2013.

Lincecum has struggled particularly lately, posting a 9.49 ERA with a 22/15 K/BB ratio in 24 2/3 innings over his last six starts. He has made it into the fifth inning in only two of those six starts.

As a result, the Giants could take Lincecum out of the starting rotation and move Yusmeiro Petit back in, MLB.com’s Chris Haft reports. Manager Bruce Bochy has spoken with GM Brian Sabean and pitching coach Dave Righetti, but he has not yet spoken to Lincecum about the situation.

Petit has been serving out of the bullpen and has pitched very well — he’s been perfect, in fact. The right-hander has retired all 37 batters he has faced dating back to July 26, striking out 16 in the process.

Clayton Kershaw could return on September 1

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Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw has been out since July 24 with a lower back strain. He’s slated to throw a three-inning simulated game in Pittsburgh on Monday, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register. Plunkett adds that if all goes well, the earliest Kershaw could return is August 31 against the Diamondbacks, but September 1 is more likely against the Padres.

Kershaw, 29, hit the disabled list on a pace to win his fourth Cy Young Award. He’s 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA and a 168/24 K/BB ratio in 141 1/3 innings.

The Dodgers have managed just fine without Kershaw. The club is 19-4 since July 24. At 87-35, the Dodgers own baseball’s best record, well ahead of the second-best Astros at 76-48.

Ian Kinsler was fined for ripping umpires publicly. Brad Ausmus says it’s the largest fine he’s seen in 25 years.

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Last week, Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler was ejected from a game against the Rangers after giving home plate umpire Angel Hernandez a look after a pitch was thrown outside for a ball. Kinsler was apparently unhappy with calls Hernandez had made earlier. Manager Brad Ausmus, too, was ejected.

After the game, Kinsler said that Hernandez “needs to find another job.” He added, “…he needs to stop ruining baseball games.”

Kinsler was fined by Major League Baseball for his remarks, Mlive’s Evan Woodbery reports. According to Ausmus, the fine levied on Kinsler was the largest one he’s seen in nearly 25 years in baseball. Kinsler said, “I said what I felt and what I thought. If they take offense to that, then that’s their problem.” Ausmus said, “To single out one player as a union is completely uncalled for.”

As Ashley noted on Saturday, the umpires wore white wristbands to protest “escalating attacks on umpires.” The umpires agreed to drop their protest on Sunday after commissioner Rob Manfred agreed to meet with the umpire union’s governing board, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reports.