The Astros interviewed Brad Ausmus for their managing gig

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Astros have interviewed former catcher Brad Ausmus for their managerial vacancy. This is an intriguing choice. Partially because he’s a former Astro, but mostly because he’d probably be a great selection.

Back when he was a player, Ausmus had a reputation for being one of the most prepared guys in the game. Even when his playing time tailed off at the end of his career, he kept detailed charts and scouting reports on opposing pitchers and hitters. He worked closely with his pitchers and his other teammates. There was a sense that he was already something of a co-manager/backup catcher.

He’s an extremely smart guy who, I bet, would gel really well with what seems to be a smart front office.

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.