No deadline for decision on Ryan Braun’s PED appeal

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It has been three whole weeks since Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun made a plea of innocence in front of an independent arbitrator in New York City, and yet no decision has been made about the NL MVP’s status for the start of the 2012 regular season.

Braun, who tested positive for “insane” levels of synthetic testosterone around the beginning of the 2011 playoffs and is thus facing a 50-game suspension, could be kept waiting a bit longer.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the arbitrator tasked with making the decision in Braun’s PED case is not being held to the usual 25-day deadline. So the review of Braun’s appeal will go on as long as it has to, with no guarantee that things will be wrapped up by the opening of spring camp.

Pitchers and catchers report on February 18 and the Brewers’ first full-squad workout is on February 25.

Dodgers plan to tab Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of World Series

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MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports that the Dodgers plan to tab ace Clayton Kershaw for Game 1 of the World Series. Nothing is set in stone yet ahead of Tuesday’s Game 1 of the World Series. In the event Kershaw can’t start Game 1, Rich Hill would start. Otherwise, Hill would start Game 4.

Kershaw, started Game 1 and Game 5 of the NLCS against the Brewers, then closed out Game 7 with a flawless inning. He was hit around to the tune of five runs (four earned) over three-plus innings in Game 1, but rebounded for seven innings of one-run ball in Game 5. He struck out two en route to sending the Dodgers to the World Series in the ninth inning of Game 7.

Kershaw also tossed eight shutout innings against the Braves in Game 2 of the NLDS. Overall, he has a 2.37 ERA in 19 innings this postseason. There was no doubt who would be the Dodgers’ first choice to start Game 1, but it’s a relatively recent situation where the ace of a team also closed out the final game of the previous series.

Hill has put up a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings this postseason. While he doesn’t have Kershaw’s pedigree, the Dodgers would be confident having him lead off the series. Hill was excellent down the stretch last year, helping the Dodgers reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Astros.

The Red Sox plan to start Chris Sale in Game 1 now that he’s recovered from a brief stint in the hospital due to a stomach ailment. The lefty has a 3.48 in 10 1/3 innings in the playoffs this year. He’s among a handful of candidates for the AL Cy Young award after posting a 2.11 ERA in the regular season, but his lack of innings (158) may hurt him.