No decision needs to be made until next week, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels are leaning toward Hisanori Takahashi as the rotation replacement for demoted starter Joel Pineiro.
Takahashi was a veteran starter in Japan prior to coming to MLB at age 35 last season, but he had a 5.01 ERA in 12 starts for the Mets. He’s had more success in the bullpen for the Mets and Angels, throwing 106 innings with a 2.64 ERA and 100/41 K/BB ratio.
Counting on him as a starter down the stretch is an iffy proposition and throwing Takahashi right into the fire with a Wednesday start against the Yankees is especially iffy, but DiGiovanna writes that the Angels aren’t very confident in any of their potential Pineiro replacements in the minors.
Asked if he’d be ready to make the start, Takahashi replied: “I could throw 100 pitches. I don’t know what would happen a couple of days after that, but I could throw 100 pitches.”
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.