Cubs “optimistic” that Matt Garza will avoid disabled list

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Cubs righty Matt Garza made an early exit from his start Saturday against the Cardinals because of cramping in his triceps. But the early signs are good.

According to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney, the Cubs are “optimistic” that Garza will avoid the disabled list and be able to make his next scheduled outing. X-rays came up negative on Saturday night, and the team’s medical staff is confident that the discomfort is not related to past elbow issues.

Garza, 28, has registered a cool 3.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP in 18 starts this season, fanning 96 batters and walking only 32 across 103 2/3 innings. The Cubs are expected to ship him to another club right around this year’s July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

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.