Carlos Quentin to begin minor league rehab assignment Tuesday

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Carlos Quentin is inching closer to his Padres’ debut following March knee surgery.

According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, Quentin is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment tomorrow with Triple-A Tucson.

Quentin has slowly increased baseball activities after being cleared for live batting practice earlier this month. Padres manager Bud Black told Hayes that the 29-year-old outfielder will need more than seven games in the minors to get ready, so we likely won’t see him with the big club until late next week.

Quentin, a San Diego native, was acquired from the White Sox in late December after batting .254/.340/.499 with 24 homers, 77 RBI and an .838 OPS over 483 plate appearances last year. He can become a free agent this offseason, but while the Padres expressed some initial interest in a contract extension, his name figures to eventually pop up in trade talks.

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.