Alfonso Soriano, unlike Aramis Ramirez, won’t block trade from Cubs

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Aramis Ramirez has reportedly informed the Cubs that he’d likely use the no-trade clause in his contract to block any deal, but Alfonso Soriano indicated yesterday that he wouldn’t stand in the way of a trade.

Of course, according to Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com Soriano didn’t even realize he had a no-trade clause in his contract when the subject was first broached by reporters, so he probably hasn’t thought about the situation a whole lot.

Soriano is 35 years old and still owed $18 million in 2012, 2013, and 2014 as part of the eight-year, $136 million deal Chicago foolishly gave him in November of 2006, so the odds of the Cubs being able to move that contract are slim unless they’re willing to eat a significant percentage of the remaining money.

For his part Soriano told Mooney that he’d like to remain in Chicago, and with a .294 on-base percentage and .744 OPS contenders presumably won’t be beating down the Cubs’ door to make a play for him. On the other hand, this offseason the Blue Jays were able to convince the Angels to take Vernon Wells’ deal off their hands, so anything is possible.

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.