Drew Stubbs on track to rejoin Reds on Monday

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Drew Stubbs began a minor league rehab assignment last night with Class A Dayton as he continues to make his way back from a strained left oblique.

Stubbs, who has been sidelined since June 5, went 0-for-2 and played five innings in center field. The speedy 27-year-old later told Mark Clements of MLB.com that he didn’t feel any discomfort with the oblique.

“No soreness, no pain during the game or anything like that,” Stubbs said. “Taking two weeks off, from any game action, you never know how you’re going to feel stepping in and getting back in the flow of the game. I felt really comfortable, like I haven’t really missed a beat.”

The current plan is for Stubbs to play seven innings today and a full nine-inning game tomorrow before coming off the disabled list for Monday’s game against the Brewers.

Stubbs is hitting .235/.300/.373 with seven home runs, 18 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .673 OPS over 53 games this season. Chris Heisey is currently holding down starting center field duties, but he’ll move back into a platoon with Ryan Ludwick in left field once Stubbs returns.

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.