Jonathan Broxton melts down, blows game in 12th

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Jonathan Broxton struck out the side Sunday to earn his first save for the Royals. His outing Wednesday didn’t go so well.

After Oakland’s Seth Smith reached on an Alcides Escobar error in the 12th, Broxton walked two batters and hit two more to take a blown save and a loss in a 5-4 game.

Broxton retired the first batter he faced prior to Escobar’s miscue. After the two walks, the tying run scored on a groundout and Broxton was in position to still send the game to the 13th. Only then he plunked Yoenis Cespedes and Jonny Gomes with back-to-back pitches, ending the contest.

Broxton, who was signed to set up for Joakim Soria, has looked pretty shaky since the beginning of the spring and doesn’t seem long for the closer’s role in Kansas City. Greg Holland is probably next in line, and Aaron Crow, who started games this spring before being shifted back to the pen, could also be an option. Crow actually got a save Tuesday for pitching a scoreless seventh inning in a 3-0 game called in the top of the eighth.

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.