* Apparently not willing to simply wait for Milton Bradley’s next injury, manager Lou Piniella has decided to just bench him for a couple games. That three-year, $30 million deal is looking better every day.
* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports
that several teams are interested in Cliff Lee, but the Indians are
holding out for “a potential top-of-the-rotation starter at the level
of” Tommy Hanson or Clay Buchholz. You wouldn’t know it based on his
support-deprived record, but Lee is pitching nearly as well as he did
in winning the Cy Young award last season.
* General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated yesterday
that the Phillies are in the market for a veteran starting pitcher, but
said that “the availability really isn’t there” because “the number of
buyers and the number of sellers aren’t close to equaling each other.”
* Add the Rangers to the ever-growing list of teams opting to pass on Pedro Martinez, who’s reportedly still seeking a $5 million deal prorated for the remaining games.
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.