Aaron Heilman replaces Chad Qualls as Diamondbacks closer

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A.J. Hinch finally stripped Chad Qualls of closer duties yesterday, saying that Aaron Heilman will now get most of the save chances. However, the manager added that he may still use Heilman some in the seventh and eighth innings, so the closer-by-committee could come into play.
Hinch showed amazing patience with Qualls, letting him blow four saves and allow 26 runs in 22.1 innings before finally pulling the plug with the Diamondbacks double-digit games back in the NL West. Heilman has just 10 career saves, but he’s a longtime setup man with a 3.58 ERA in 418 innings as a reliever, including a 2.83 ERA and 23/9 K/BB ratio in 28.2 innings this season.
Heilman is capable of doing a decent job with ninth-inning duties, but if he fares particularly well the Diamondbacks may look at trade him along with just about everyone else on the roster and that would almost surely push him back into a setup role with his new team.

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.