Pirates claim Garrett Olson off waivers from Mariners

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One of the benefits of finishing with the worst record in baseball last season is that the Pirates still have the No. 1 waiver priority and they used it today to claim Garrett Olson after he was let go by the Mariners.

I once thought Olson had a future as a solid mid-rotation starter for the Orioles, but he didn’t last long in Baltimore and wasn’t much better in Seattle, bringing a 6.20 career ERA with him to Pittsburgh.

As a fly-ball pitcher with a high-80s fastball there isn’t much upside to be had, but the former first-round pick is still just 27 years old and could stick as a serviceable left-handed middle reliever.

More importantly, as Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing notes Pittsburgh has added Garrett Olson to an organization that already boasts Garrett Atkins, Garrett Jones, and Scott Olsen. So obviously the season won’t be a total loss for the Pirates. Plus, that’s a helluva beard.

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.