Twins may give oft-injured Crede another year

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While the Twins wait to see whether prospects Danny Valencia or Luke Hughes will emerge as a long-term answer at third base, the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Joe Christensen reports that they’re considering re-signing Joe Crede to another one-year deal.
When he signed with the Twins last winter Crede was coming off a season in which he played just 97 games because of injuries and hit .248 with 17 homers and a bad on-base percentage.
Now he’s coming off a season in which he played just 90 games because of injuries and hit .225 with 15 homers and a bad on-base percentage. In other words, Crede performed more or less like the Twins should have expected and was ultimately worth the incentive-laden investment with his great defense factored in.
Between his modest .225/.289/.414 production in 367 plate appearances and Ultimate Zone Rating pegging his glove as 12 runs above average Crede was about 20 runs better than a replacement-level third baseman while earning $4 million in total salary. He’s currently recovering from yet another back surgery, but Crede makes about as much sense for the Twins now as he did last offseason and may be even cheaper this time.
When healthy he hits .250 with good power and excellent defense at third base, but he’s missed 234 of a possible 488 games in the past three years. He clearly can’t be counted on for a full season, but Crede isn’t a terrible fallback option for the budget-conscious Twins if they don’t feel that Valencia is quite ready and miss out on free agent third basemen like Adrian Beltre, Mark DeRosa, or Troy Glaus.

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.