David Ortiz confident he’ll be back with Red Sox next season

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David Ortiz was in attendance at tonight’s Heat-Celtics game and told the Boston Globe that he is confident he will be back with the Red Sox next season.

The Red Sox have until three days after the World Series to decide whether to pick up his $12.5 million option for 2011.

“We’re going to talk next week,” he said.

Ortiz, who turns 35 in November, enjoyed a bounceback year in 2010, batting .270/.370/.529 with 32 homers and 102 RBI. He finished eighth in the league with an .899 OPS and ninth with 82 walks.

$12.5 million isn’t pocket change or anything, but the Red Sox could do a lot worse than bring him back and hope for a repeat with what we can only assume will be a healthier supporting cast. It’s worth noting that Ortiz told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com in September that he wouldn’t be comfortable coming back to Boston on a one-year contract. The two sides will talk, but methinks Red Sox GM Theo Epstein won’t be silly enough to guarantee an aging slugger a multi-year deal.

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.