Jorge De La Rosa cleared for rehab assignment

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Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd told season ticket holders back in June that Jorge De La Rosa was unlikely to pitch this summer. But things are suddenly looking up for the left-handed starter.

According to beat writer Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, De La Rosa is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday evening with the Rockies’ rookie-league affiliate in Grand Junction, Colorado and could be cleared to rejoin the big league rotation a week or two later.

De La Rosa has been on the shelf since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery in June 2011. The 31-year-old carries an $11 million player option for the 2013 season and is sure to exercise it.

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.