Pitch to face breaks Pirates prospect and 2009 fourth overall pick Tony Sanchez's jaw

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Pirates catching prospect Tony Sanchez was hit in the face by a pitch Tuesday while playing at Single-A and has been diagnosed with a fractured jaw, so the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft will need surgery that could end his season.
Sanchez was scheduled to represent the Pirates in the Futures Game during the All-Star break, but instead he’ll have his jaw wired shut and general manager Neal Huntington said he’ll be out for “a while.” Huntington added that it’ll be “a challenge” for Sanchez to maintain his conditioning and strength on a liquid-only diet.
In other words, that makes it less likely Sanchez will return before the end of the minor-league season even if the jaw heals properly and quickly. Ultimately he was unlikely to reach the majors until mid-2011 or later anyway, but stalled development combined with eating through a straw are never good things for a 22-year-old prospect.
Defense was considered Sanchez’s strength coming out of Boston College and he was labeled a “safe” pick three spots after Stephen Strasburg and four spots before Mike Leake, but he’s hit .312 with a .413 on-base percentage and .494 slugging percentage through 107 games in the minors, showing decent power and solid plate discipline.

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.