Evan Longoria to begin playing in rehab games Saturday

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After missing six weeks due to a partially torn left hamstring, Evan Longoria is finally ready for game action.

According to Adam Berry of MLB.com, Longoria will join Triple-A Durham tomorrow to work out with the team and will serve as the designated hitter on Saturday. He was cleared for a rehab stint after running the bases prior to today’s game against the Mets.

There’s no clear timetable for his return, but Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times last week that Longoria would likely spend 7-10 days on a rehab assignment.

Longoria, 26, was batting .329/.433/.561 with four home runs, 19 RBI and a .994 OPS in 97 plate appearances prior to the injury. The Rays have gone 20-20 during his absence.

Jeff Keppinger, who is currently on the disabled list with a broken big right toe, is also scheduled to play in rehab games this weekend with Triple-A Durham.

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.