Nationals sign Xavier Nady to minor league contract

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Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that the Nationals have reached agreement on a minor league contract with outfielder Xavier Nady.

The deal does not come with an invitation to major league spring training, meaning the 33-year-old will be stationed in minor league camp in Viera, Florida with no chance of cracking the Opening Day roster. But those terms should come as no surprise.

Nady struggled mightily to attract free agent interest this offseason after batting .248/.287/.359 with four home runs and 35 RBI in 82 games last year for the Diamondbacks. He fractured his left hand in early-August and was unable to return to action.

Nady hit .305/.357/.510 in 2008 between the Pirates and Yankees with 25 homers and 97 RBI in 148 games. But that was by far the best year of his career, and he hasn’t come close to that level of production since.

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.