Rangers, Yu Darvish not gelling on length of contract

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Rangers president Nolan Ryan seemed confident last week that a deal would be struck with Japanese starter Yu Darvish before Wednesday’s deadline.

But that’s suddenly just three days away.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, the two sides are disagreeing on the amount of years — not the amount of dollars — that will frame Darvish’s first major league contract. Darvish’s camp wants the deal to be for five years so that he can hit free agency sooner and possibly cash in again, and the Rangers want to lock him up for six to maximize the value of their record $51,703,411 posting fee.

It still seems like a given that one side will eventually cave and that a compromise will be reached. Darvish probably isn’t interested in returning to Nippon Professional Baseball, and the Rangers wouldn’t have made such an aggressive push for the 25-year-old right-hander if they weren’t enamored with him.

Darvish, who stands 6′ 5″, posted a 1.44 ERA and 276/36 K/BB ratio in 232 innings last season in NPB.

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.