Clayton Kershaw skips bullpen session due to stiff back

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Much like Giants ace Tim Lincecum, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has experienced back stiffness following his first couple of workouts in spring camp.

Also like Lincecum, who was able play to play catch Wednesday, Kershaw’s issue is thought to be minor.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick that Kershaw’s scheduled Wednesday bullpen session was cancelled, but only because the team can afford to be extra cautious this early in the spring:

“He’s been around for a while,” Mattingly said in Glendale, Arizona. “We know he’s young and he’s thrown a lot of innings and we won’t do anything to jeopardize him.”

Kershaw should be back on his normal routine by the weekend. He has already been named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter and is not scheduled to appear in a Cactus League game until March 9. The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner posted a dominant 2.28 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 233 1/3 innings last season.

Report: A’s trying to finish deal for Jeurys Familia

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The Athletics appear to be closing in on a deal for Mets’ right-hander Jeurys Familia, according to reports from ESPN’s Buster Olney. Nothing has been finalized just yet, however, as the Mets confirmed that they would not be announcing a trade tonight and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic points out that other teams may still be in the mix for Familia’s services. It’s not clear what the A’s would be giving up in any potential deal for the reliever.

Familia, 28, has been pitching well this season. He currently sports a 2.88 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 through 40 2/3 innings — across-the-board improvements from his last run with the Mets in 2017 — and has racked up 17 saves to boot. He’s due another $3 million for the remainder of 2018, and Rosenthal adds that the club is willing to throw some cash in the deal in order to guarantee a better return for the closer.

While the A’s have one of the better bullpens in the American League, sitting seventh-best with a 3.50 ERA and 2.8 fWAR, they still have a ways to go in order to overtake the Mariners and Astros for a postseason berth by season’s end. Familia’s contract expires at the end of the year, but he should provide enough short-term value to give the A’s the boost they need.