Fired now, but Fredi Gonzalez could be the Braves manager next year

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The first thing I thought when I read that the Marlins have fired Fredi Gonzalez is that he has to be the front runner to become the Braves’ manager after Bobby Cox retires at the end of the year.

Gonzalez was the Braves’ third base coach before taking the Florida job. Last winter, when it seemed like the Marlins were jerking Gonzalez around, Bobby Cox came out in his defense, saying that his job being in jeopardy was “the biggest surprise I’ve had all season,” and praising him as being
“knowledgeable, a great communicator, disciplines well . . .”

It seemed clear to me, anyway, that he was being groomed by Cox back in the day, and though Cox has denied that he’ll take any part in naming his replacement, you have to think that his recommendations will carry an awful lot of weight for a team that loves continuity in such matters.

But even if the Braves don’t hire him, you have to think someone will.  Like Joe Girardi before him, any many who Jeff Loria sees fit to fire probably has a lot to recommend about him. 

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.