Guzman not at full strength after shoulder surgery

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I tuned into yesterday afternoon’s Nationals-Tigers game just to see Stephen Strasburg’s spring training debut, but also got a look at Cristian Guzman’s surgically repaired right shoulder as he lobbed a weak, high-arcing throw to first base after fielding a Strasburg-induced grounder.
Even before the injury Guzman was pretty lax with his throws to first base, dating all the way back to his time with the Twins from 1999-2004, but yesterday’s effort looked like it had a parachute attached and sure enough today manager Jim Riggleman told Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com that the shortstop “is a little concerned to air it out.”
Riggleman estimated that Guzman’s shoulder is “probably at about 90 percent” strength, which if true should worry the Nationals quite a bit because adding 10 percent to yesterday’s throws still equals a whole lot of infield hits.
Shortstop prospect Ian Desmond has been impressive early in camp, but Goessling notes that Guzman likely isn’t in any danger of losing his starting job. Instead the Nationals have been giving Desmond reps as a right fielder in addition to moving him around the infield. Desmond may begin the year as a utility man, but there’s a strong chance he’ll have unseated Guzman or second baseman Adam Kennedy by midseason.

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.