B.J. Upton is in the Rays’ lineup this afternoon

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3:59 p.m. EDT update: Ken Rosenthal said on MLB Network that Upton won’t be traded.  He’s not a candidate to clear waivers, so it looks like he’ll finish the year in Tampa Bay.

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Things could still change, but with a little less than two hours remaining before the trade deadline, Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that center fielder B.J. Upton is in the Rays’ starting lineup this afternoon against the Mariners.

Upton has been mentioned constantly in trade rumors over the past couple of weeks, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that some front office people are beginning to think that he’ll stay with the Rays through the deadline. It makes sense, since the Braves, Phillies and Giants are now out of the mix.

The Nationals, Reds, Indians and Pirates have also expressed interest in the 26-year-old recently, so it’s still possible that something could get done. However, it’s looking more and more likely that the Rays could decide to shop him this winter.

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.