Trade for Ryan Theriot has Cardinals shopping Brendan Ryan

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Earlier this week the Cardinals acquired Ryan Theriot from the Dodgers and made it clear they plan to start him at shortstop, so not surprisingly Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that “the Cardinals have let other teams know Brendan Ryan is available and they’ll look to trade him during next week’s winter meetings in Florida, if not sooner.”

“I think he still has some ways that he can help the Cardinals, but if there is a deal out there that makes sense for us we should pursue it,” general manager John Mozeliak told Goold. “We need to be open to having those discussions.”

Ryan had a miserable season at the plate, hitting just .223 with a measly .573 OPS, but he’s an elite defensive shortstop and out-hit Theriot in 2009. He’s also two years younger than Theriot and significantly cheaper, although Goold notes “Ryan’s extroverted personality and occasional antics” along with his “reputation for being flighty.”

At the very least Ryan would make an excellent utility man and the various shortstop-needy teams kicking the tires on guys like Jason Bartlett or J.J. Hardy should definitely be giving Mozeliak a call.

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.