Another good prospect headed to Kansas City, as Royals call up Johnny Giavotella

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The latest arrival in Kansas City’s season-long influx of young talent is second base prospect Johnny Giavotella, who was called up from Triple-A last night.

While not among the Royals’ historic stockpile of elite prospects, Giavotella would be one of the top few prospects in plenty of other organizations. He hit .322 with an .855 OPS in 134 games at Double-A last season and batted .339 with an .872 OPS in 109 games at Triple-A this year to earn the call-up.

Giavotella’s modest power matches his 5-foot-8 frame, but along with the .309 career batting average he’s struck out just 212 times in 1,967 plate appearances while drawing nearly as many walks (192) as whiffs. If things go well for Giavotella he projects as a potential leadoff man and if his development stalls a bit he should be a solid contributor at the bottom of the lineup.

And either way he almost can’t help but be an upgrade over the man he’s replacing at second base, Chris Getz, who’s hit just .247 with a measly .309 on-base percentage and .281 slugging percentage in 168 games since the Royals got him from the White Sox for Mark Teahen in November of 2009.

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.