Dave Eiland out as Yankees pitching coach

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We weren’t expecting this: Brian Cashman is having his season-in-review press conference at Yankee Stadium, and he just announced that pitching coach Dave Eiland won’t be returning in 2011. Cashman said that the reason for the firing is “private,” but that it’s not a result of the Yankees’ poor pitching performance in the ALCS.

The reason behind any given move in the Yankee Universe is hard to suss out these days. Unlike back when The Boss was running things, you can’t assume that things are done out of anger or emotion, though of course that could be possible. Unless my old reliable for any unexplained firing — the pilfering of office supplies — is revealed as the reason, my guess is that there were just fundamental disagreements between Eiland ans Girardi about how best to use the staff, how best to figure out A.J. Burnett (Eiland: shock therapy, Girardi: a sound beating) or whatever other pedestrian matters come between a manager and one of his coaches.

And I would guess that Girardi is on board here. All emanations from the Yankees are that they have full confidence in him and Girardi is clear on saying he wants to come back. Indeed, right after announcing the firing of Eiland, Cashman made a point to say that he would be meeting with Girardi’s agent tomorrow to discuss a contract extension.

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.