Nate McLouth out six weeks following sports hernia surgery

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Nate McLouth was placed on the disabled list last week with a lower abdominal strain, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves outfielder underwent sports hernia surgery yesterday and is expected to miss six more weeks.

McLouth hasn’t ruled out playing again this season, but he’ll definitely be up against the clock and a rehab assignment won’t be possible as part of his recovery because the minor-league season will be over by then.

Of course, with Michael Bourn taking his place as the Braves’ starting center fielder there isn’t as much incentive to rush McLouth back. He was hitting just .228 with a .677 OPS in 81 games prior to the injury and that production looks even worse in an outfield corner.

Interestingly, when the Braves placed McLouth on the DL last week manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated that he’d been playing through the abdominal injury since the first week of the season. Given the need for surgery now that could explain his struggles, although McLouth hit even worse last season.

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.