The Nationals will pursue Brandon Webb

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A pursuit, eh? Hopefully he’ll try to get away by swimming. With that shoulder, they’ll surely catch up to him fast!

The Nationals will be one of several teams to pursue Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander and former Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb, according to someone close to the Nationals. Webb, 31, ranked third in the majors with a 3.13 ERA from 2006 through 2008, but he has not thrown a major league pitch since opening day 2009 because of right shoulder surgery.

Well, that’s certainly way more realistic than chasing after Cliff Lee.  Even if it’s nothing approaching a sure thing that Webb will ever be able to get major league hitters out again (and so far, so bad).  When you’re Washington, and you’re both unable to develop your own, non-Strasburgian pitchers, and unable to attract top free agents, going after rehab cases isn’t the worst plan in the world.  If it works, genius, because Webb was once a great pitcher. If it doesn’t, well, you’re not out too much. That is, unless they do what the A’s did with Ben Sheets and give him way too much money.

This isn’t the first trip to the scrap heap for the Nats, of course. Last year they signed Chien-Ming Wang on the same theory. That bore no fruit, but there are worse approaches than trying to get lucky with a fixer-upper.

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.