Kevin Kouzmanoff and his $4.75 million salary cleared waivers on the way to Triple-A

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Earlier this week the A’s optioned Kevin Kouzmanoff to Triple-A, demoting the struggling third baseman while calling up the recently acquired Scott Sizemore to replace him.

As if that wasn’t depressing enough for a 29-year-old veteran of six seasons and 645 games, today the A’s dropped Kouzmanoff from the 40-man roster altogether and successfully passed him through waivers unclaimed.

That means he’ll stay at Triple-A and would need to be re-added to the 40-man roster before rejoining the A’s. It also means none of the other 29 teams felt he was worth claiming, which isn’t shocking given that Kouzmanoff has a $4.75 million salary of which a claiming team would have to assume about $3 million.

That’s far too expensive for a guy who’s hit just .242 with a .666 OPS in 189 games since leaving the Padres’ pitcher-friendly ballpark, although if Kouzmanoff plays well at Triple-A and the A’s are willing to eat most of that money they might be able to swap him for a low-level prospect at some point next month.

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.