Long-haired freaky people allowed into White House

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As is custom, President Obama welcomed the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants to the White House yesterday.  Usually those meet-and-greets are really brief and cursory, but given all of the debt crisis ugliness, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Obama hung out with the Giants for a couple hours yesterday, trying to get his mind off things. I probably would.

Most notable during the visit: Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum — who are unique enough as it is — looking like a pair of terrorist/assassins once they were given suits and ties and placed in an official setting. Seriously, look at that pic and tell me that Wilson isn’t imagining eating Obama’s liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Or at least trying to make us all think that’s what he’s thinking because he has a reputation for edginess to uphold. Frankly I’ve lost track of whether we’re supposed to be shocked by Wilson, tired of his calculated weirdness or if we’re back to simply enjoying it.  These trend cycles can be difficult to navigate.

Also notable: the Giants presented the president with a number 44 jersey. My first thought when I saw that was that it wasn’t too respectful of Willie McCovey who had the thing retired in his honor, but then I read that he gave it the OK.  Which, given that McCovey is supposed to be a pretty awesome guy isn’t too surprising. If 44 had been Will Clark’s or something, though, there could have been trouble.

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.