Tim Stauffer undergoes elbow surgery

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Tim Stauffer’s 2012 season is officially over, as Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the flexor tendon in his right elbow. Padres manager Bud Black said that he should be ready for spring training next year.

Stauffer was originally expected to be the Padres’ Opening Day starter, but he ended up making just one start in the big leagues this season. After beginning the year on the disabled list, he made his season debut against the Nationals on May 14 and gave up four runs (three earned) over five innings. However, he was placed right back on the disabled list after feeling more discomfort in his elbow. He finally decided to have surgery after being pulled from a rehab assignment earlier this month.

Stauffer made $3.2 million this season and is arbitration-eligible again this winter, so he figures to be a non-tender candidate this winter. The 29-year-old right-hander will likely have to settle for a one-year “prove it” contract, but after posting a 3.73 ERA over 185 2/3 innings in 2011, there should be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on him.

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.