Danny Knobler of CBS Sports passes along word that the Blue Jays have agreed to terms on a two-year, $10 million contract extension with shortstop Yunel Escobar. The new deal also carries $5 million club options for 2014 and 2015.
Escobar was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career this past winter and scored $2.9 million in salary for 2011. The new contract will buy out his remaining arbitration seasons and potentially his first two years of free agency, all at a reasonable price.
Escobar, a 28-year-old native of Cuba, has posted a cool .281/.359/.431 batting line with eight homers and 26 RBI in 66 games this season. He also has a strong defensive reputation at the shortstop position.
The Jays acquired Escobar last summer in a five-player trade with the Braves involving Alex Gonzalez.
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.