Ryan Braun may be innocent

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We’ll obviously have official word sometime soon, but yesterday Dan Patrick had something interesting to say on his radio show about the reigning NL MVP’s drug test and appeal: Braun may get off scott free.

There was nothing definitive in his comments — a lot of it was Patrick’s gut feeling based on a conversation he had with someone — but Patrick said “Ryan Braun a victim of the testing by Major League Baseball,” and that “the feeling I got from somebody involved in the process in this, it’s not as cut and dried as people would think. And Ryan Braun may be an innocent man.”

Interesting. Braun testing positive to begin with has caused no shortage of controversy here. Just imagine how much controversy would ensue if the whole affair led to serious questions about the entire testing process itself coming into question.

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.