Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud needs thumb surgery

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According to Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun, Blue Jays prospect Travis d’Arnaud tore ligaments in his thumb while serving as Team USA’s catcher at the 39th Baseball World Cup in Panama and has headed home to undergo a surgical procedure.

Acquired in a package for Roy Halladay back in December of 2009, d’Arnaud batted .311 with a .914 OPS, 33 doubles, 21 home runs and 78 RBI in 114 games this season at Double-A New Hampshire.

He carries serious major league upside and should make the climb to Triple-A Las Vegas at some point next year if his recovery from thumb surgery goes as smoothly as expected.

The experts at Baseball America ranked d’Arnaud as the game’s 36th most promising prospect last winter. The 22-year-old from Long Beach, California should be even higher on this offseason’s lists.

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.