Bryce Harper + Scott Boras = chaos

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Strasburg-mania is old hat. I’m on to worshipping a 16 year-old:

Bryce Harper is bigger than the NBA Finals this week. He’s bigger than the Stanley Cup.

The image of the Las Vegas High School sensation with the desert
mountains of Nevada serving as his playground graces the June 8 cover
of Sports Illustrated on newsstands today in a tribute fitting of the
nation’s newest and youngest baseball star.

In large bold black letters, the magazine proclaims Harper as
“Baseball’s Chosen One.” The cover features his biggest numbers:
570-foot home runs, 96 mph fastballs and his age, 16. He is hailed on
the cover as the most exciting prodigy since LeBron James and his
central placement on the magazine is fit for a king. In the top right
corner of the cover, there’s a small mention of the NBA Finals. In top
left corner, the tease to the Stanley Cup Finals floats as if it has
just been hit by Harper’s left-handed swing.

The kicker: Harper’s parents are looking for ways to make him eligible
for the 2010 draft instead of 2011. Oh, and that one of the teenager’s
advisers is Scott Boras.

In other words, get ready for the runup to next year’s draft to be
crazier than this year’s. I’m talking long lost birth certificates,
psychological testing and lawsuits. Should be an utter blast if you’re
anyone other than a 16 year-old kid named Bryce Harper.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.