Joe Torre says Roger Clemens belongs in Hall of Fame

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No, these comments won’t surprise anyone, but Joe Torre said Sunday at Old Timers’ Day at Yankee Stadium that Roger Clemens belongs in the Hall of Fame.

“He is to me,” Torre said. “I can’t make other people look at him that way. I can just tell you the way I feel. I was proud to have him play for me. He always gave you everything he had and I always respected that.”

Torre managed Clemens in New York from 1999-2003 and again in 2007. He said the former seven-time Cy Young Award winner was “like a son to me.”

“Unfortunately the question mark is always going to be there with him,” he added. “It’s something that’s sad for me. Because Roger Clemens, and the way that he went about his business, I disliked him like everybody else until I got a chance to know him.”

Clemens, who ranks ninth all-time with 354 victories and third with 4,672 strikeouts, will be eligible for the Hall for the first time this winter.

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.