Francisco Cordero hasn’t made a very good first impression in Houston

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Francisco Cordero went from Toronto to Houston as part of last week’s 10-player swap and the Astros, having traded closer Brett Myers and setup man Brandon Lyon, installed Cordero as their new closer.

To absolutely no one’s surprise, it hasn’t worked out very well.

Cordero was terrible for the Blue Jays, throwing 34 innings with a 5.77 ERA and .340 opponents’ batting average, and he’s blown saves (and taken losses) in two of his first three appearances for the Astros.

Tuesday against the Reds he came into the game with a 2-1 lead in the ninth inning and went fly out, single, homer, ground out, walk, wild pitch, walk, single. By the time manager Brad Mills removed Cordero from the game it was a 4-2 deficit.

Last night, also against the Reds, he came into the game with a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning and went double, strikeout, walk, strikeout, double. Mills again removed him from the game before the inning was over, this time with a 4-3 deficit.

So though three games Cordero is 0-2 with two blown saves and a 23.14 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .417 with a 1.367 OPS. And the Astros, who have an MLB-worst 34 wins all season, have let a washed-up 37-year-old closer turn back-to-back ninth-inning leads into back-to-back losses.

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.