Dusty Baker on if Joey Votto will return from knee surgery this weekend: “Oh, hell no”

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Joey Votto was on the field taking some ground balls at first base this morning, but afterward manager Dusty Baker made it very clear that the former MVP won’t be coming off the disabled list this weekend:

Oh, hell no. What weekend? You’ve still got to run. He just started playing a little first base.

Votto was given a three-week recovery timetable after undergoing knee surgery on July 17 and Mark Sheldon of MLB.com reports that he “was not wearing a knee brace and looked to be moving around pretty well.”

Votto was having another MVP-caliber season before the surgery and the Reds have played amazingly well in his absence, going 13-3 while using Todd Frazier as the primary first baseman.

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.