Royals talk to Yankees about OF Gardner

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The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton reports that the Royals have inquired about Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner’s availability in light of the Curtis Granderson trade.
Given that he, like Granderson, is a left-handed-hitting center fielder, Gardner no longer seems like all that great of a fit with the Yankees. Switch-hitting Melky Cabrera might be more likely to stick around, though he has his own problems against left-handers. In fact, the Yankees might be best off trading both and targeting Randy Winn or Reed Johnson to serve as their fourth outfielder and replacement for Granderson against tough southpaws.
The Royals, though, should be aiming to do better than Gardner in their search for a starting center fielder. Gardner is strong defensively and he steals bases at a nice clip, but he strikes out too often for someone with so little power. He’ll have to hit .290-.300 in order to be a capable regular, and little so far suggests that it’s likely to happen.
As a free-talent pickup, Gardner would be a fine choice for the Royals. The Yankees, though, would demand something substantial in return, and given each GM’s history, Brian Cashman would get the better of Dayton Moore in any deal that gets done.

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.