Joel Zumaya cleared to begin throwing program

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Tom Gage of the Detroit News brings us some good news about Tigers setup man Joel Zumaya.

Dr. James Andrews took a look at Zumaya’s ailing right elbow on Wednesday afternoon and found nothing structurally out of place, so the Tigers cleared him to begin a throwing program.

Zumaya will start with games of catch, then he’ll move on to bullpen sessions. He’ll finish up with a simulated game and a minor league rehab appearance or two. It’s a rehab schedule that should take around two weeks to complete.

“The scan showed good range of motion, good strength, and Joel has been allowed to begin a light-toss program,” Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said Thursday. “He’ll throw at 60 feet for the next 5-6 days, then report back to Dr. Andrews about how he feels. We’ll just have to see how it goes in the next week.”

The Tigers were hoping — and still are hoping — to use Zumaya as a seventh inning mainstay this season behind eighth inning setup man Ryan Perry and ninth inning closer Jose Valverde.

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.