Be happy that Oliver Perez got rocked over the weekend, Mets fans

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Oliver Perez worked in the Mexican League this winter and he showed up early to spring training.  Didn’t help, though, as he made his spring training debut against the Braves over the weekend and gave up four runs in two innings, walked three guys and only got the ball up to 86 m.p.h.  Once, that is.  Most of the time his fastball was in the low-to-mid 80s.

No, you shouldn’t make too much of spring training stats, but Perez has way more riding on his spring training than anyone in Mets camp, so he needed to be more effective than the guys who are able to give the standard “I was just workin’ on stuff” excuse.

But there is a bright side: if Perez had come out throwing bullets this spring, the Mets would have to give some serious consideration to placing him in an actual role coming out of camp.  If he continues to stink up the joint, however, cutting him loose will be way easier.

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.