Red Sox sign Vicente Padilla to minor-league contract

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Nothing is official yet, but Peter Gammons of MLB Network reports that the Red Sox have agreed to terms with right-hander Vicente Padilla and Alex Speier of WEEI.com says it’s a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training.

Padilla missed nearly all of last season following neck surgery and worked strictly as a reliever for the Dodgers when healthy enough to take the mound, but it’s unclear which role he’ll fill for the Red Sox.

He could compete with fellow minor-league signings like Aaron Cook and Carlos Silva for the fifth spot in the rotation or be viewed as a late-inning bullpen option if Daniel Bard sticks as a starter.

Padilla has had a ton of trouble staying healthy over the years, but has typically been a solid mid-rotation starter when not on the disabled list and also has a 4.15 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 113 career innings as a reliever.

And as we learned last week, no matter which role Padillla winds up in he’ll be “erect, proud, shining, and solid.”

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.