Ryne Sandberg will not be returning to Cubs next season

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When Lou Piniella stepped down from his post as Cubs manager earlier this year, there was an assumption that Triple-A Iowa skipper and Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg would take over to start the 2011 season.  Then Mike Quade stepped in, led the Cubbies to a 24-13 down the stretch and was awarded the full-time position last week.

The Cubs asked Sandberg to return to his post at Iowa, but he felt snubbed when they went with Quade and he is now planning to move on after four years as a coach within the organization.  This according to ESPN Chicago’s Bruce Levine.

“There’s no good-bye. He’s a Cub. He’ll be a Cub for life,” Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said Wednesday on “The Afternoon Saloon” on ESPN 1000, confirming the report. “If he would like to explore some options with other teams to pursue some other opportunities that doesn’t really change anything with respect to what he has accomplished for the team or what he means to the team … He’s a Cub forever.”

Quade patched the final holes for his 2011 coaching staff this week with the hiring of Pat Listach as bench coach and Dave Keller as a major league staff assistant.  Pitching coach Larry Rothschild, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo, bullpen coach Lester Strode, third base coach Ivan DeJesus and first base coach Bob Dernier will return from Piniella’s staff.

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.