Cubs place Reed Johnson on DL, activate Geovany Soto

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The Cubs had a busy little Sunday morning, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, making four 25-man roster moves.

Outfielder Reed Johnson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a back injury, catcher Geovany Soto was activated from the 15-day disabled list, outfielder Brad Snyder was called up from Triple-A Iowa and catcher Welington Castillo was optioned to Triple-A Iowa. Got all that?

Johnson has hit .367/.435/.633 with two home runs and 18 RBI in 69 plate appearances this season for Chicago. He saw a bump in playing time when Marlon Byrd went down with facial fractures and had been performing at a high level both offensively and defensively. The Cubs will have a tough time getting production from center field with both now sidelined.

Soto has been on the disabled list since mid-May with a strained muscle in his left groin. He will return to a .226/.322/.387 batting line, three home runs and 12 RBI, accomplished in 31 games.

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.