Indians GM Chris Antonetti gets vote of confidence after firing Manny Acta

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Last month Indians general manager Chris Antonetti told reporters that Manny Acta would be back as manager next season. And then yesterday Antonetti fired Acta.

That alone makes it pretty tough to place much weight in anything the Indians say about hiring and firing at this point, but yesterday Antonetti got a vote of confidence from upper management. Presumably it means more than the vote of confidence Acta got from Antonetti.

Here’s what team president Mark Shapiro–who was the GM before moving upstairs in 2010–said about going forward with Antonetti:

We obviously look at a broad range of criteria when we’re evaluating everybody. Chris is dealing with a set of challenges, which I understand, some of which are the creation of the organization that he and I ran together, and some of which are the result of other decisions.

But I feel he’s controlled the bulk of what he can control well. [Indians CEO Paul Dolan] and I still endorse strongly his vision for how we can be competitive and, ultimately, a championship team. We feel that he’s uniquely qualified and more capable than any other person in leading us to that outcome.

As far as votes of confidence go that’s a good one, I guess, and it’s worth noting that Shapiro was still technically the GM when the Indians hired Acta to a three-year contract following the 2009 season. Shapiro may also feel responsible that some of his final moves as GM didn’t set up Antonetti for immediate success, but whatever the case it seems pretty clear that 2013 will be a make-or-break year for Antonetti in Cleveland.

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.