Carl Crawford to undergo Tommy John surgery Thursday

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With the player obviously in favor of undergoing the procedure now, the Red Sox have decided to relent: Carl Crawford will have Tommy John surgery Thursday and sit out the rest of the season.

Crawford missed the first half of the season rehabbing his wrist and elbow, but he returned last month to hit .282/.306/.479 in 117 at-bats, which should at least help alleviate concerns that he’s going to be a complete bust in a Red Sox uniform after an extremely disappointing first year in Boston.

Still, he couldn’t have helped his standing with the fanbase by making it known that he wanted surgery now. Even had Crawford waited until after the season, he most likely would have been ready for Opening Day 2013. Given that he’s a left fielder, it’s not as though he’s forced to unleash several hard throws per game. Actually playing in games will be less intensive than much of his rehab is going to be.

With Crawford out, Scott Podsednik likely will get most of the starts in left field for now. Daniel Nava should return within a week to share time there.

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.