Willie Mays did not say what Joe Buck said he said

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During the All-Star Game last night, Buck and McCarver brought up the topic of players who didn’t show up for the All-Star Game even though they were selected.  At that point, Buck referred to a Wall Street Journal article in which Willie Mays had something really pithy to say about the ballplayers who didn’t make it. Here were Buck’s comments:

“Willie Mays had some interesting quotes today in the Wall Street Journal with regard to guys not showing up for this All-Star Game. He said ‘I was rewarded 24 times as an All-Star, and I went 24 times. It’s not jury duty, guys should show up.’”

Except, as Larry Brown Sports points out, Willie Mays did not say it. It was the author of the article who said it, after which he fancifully imagined a bunch of conversations between current ballplayers and Mays, in which he presumed that Mays would disapprove of guys not coming to Phoenix.  Mays was not interviewed for the story and there was no effort by the WSJ writer to claim he had been. Just sloppiness by Buck and/or his production team as they looked for material to paint current ballplayers as lazy and entitled.

In Buck’s defense, he does work for a Rupert Murdoch property, and as we’ve seen in the news this week, Murdoch people are privy to non-public conversations all the time. So, yes, perhaps Mays did say the line about jury duty. Just that he said it on his cell phone to his brother-in-law or something.

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.