Dodgers, Astros discuss Carlos Lee. Jed Lowrie to stay put.

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Update 3: Rosenthal indicates that right-hander Garrett Gould could be the primary return if Carlos Lee is dealt to the Dodgers. Again, it’s highly unlikely Zach Lee would be involved in such a trade.

Update 2: Olney confirms that it’s Carlos Lee that the Dodgers and Astros are discussing at the moment. Previous talks did involve Lowrie, but he’s no longer involved. Olney still puts the odds of a deal at 50-50.

If traded, Lee would take over as the Dodgers’ primary first baseman, leaving James Loney without much of a role. The Astros could take Loney back in such a deal for salary purposes, but they’re primarily interested in acquiring pitchers.

Update 1: Sources tell FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal that the talks involve Carlos Lee, not Lowrie, which would also seem to suggest that Zach Lee is not involved. The Dodgers won’t be giving up top prospects for Carlos Lee, that’s for sure. Also, Carlos Lee has a partial no-trade clause and could choose to block a deal.

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ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that the Astros and Dodgers are discussing a deal that would send shortstop Jed Lowrie to Los Angeles for two of the team’s top pitching prospects: right-handers Zach Lee and Garrett Gould.

A source told Olney it’s about 50-50 to get done and there could be other names involved.

Lowrie, who didn’t play Thursday against the Cubs, leads all major league shortstops with 14 homers this year and is hitting .262/.350/.492 overall. The Astros acquired him and right-hander Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox for Mark Melancon over the winter.

Lee rates as the Dodgers’ best prospect. Given a $5.25 million bonus two years ago to keep him away from an LSU football scholarship, he’s gone 2-3 with a 4.26 ERA and a 59/13 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings in the minors this season. 12 of his 13 starts came at high-A Rancho Cucamonga, but he was just promoted to Double-A. He was recently picked for the U.S. team in the Futures Game.

Gould, a 2009 second-round pick, is 1-6 with a 5.14 ERA and a 72/24 K/BB ratio in 72 innings for Rancho Cucamonga. While Lee could have a future as a No. 2 starter if things break right, Gould is probably more of a No. 4.

It’d seem to be a very good return for the Astros. Lowrie is having a terrific season, but he has a long injury history and he’s a bit below average defensively at shortstop. Cashing him in while his value is at its highest would be a nice move.

As for the Dodgers, Lowrie would certainly give the offense a boost if he keeps hitting like this. It’d be interesting to see what they’d do with him, though. Making him the regular shortstop and sending down Dee Gordon for additional season would make sense, but the team could also choose to use him at third over Juan Uribe and Jerry Hairston Jr.

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.