Braves center fielder Michael Bourn hasn’t played since September 22 because of a mild sprain in his left thumb. But things are suddenly looking up.
David O’Brien of the Altanta Journal-Constitution reports that Bourn has a “good chance” of returning to the starting lineup for Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the Mets and that he’s been held out of recent games mostly as a precautionary measure
“The big thing is we don’t want to get a setback,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez told reporters on Saturday. “We’re running out of games and we don’t want to get a setback right now.”
As it stands, the Braves will host the Cardinals in the one-game NL Wild Card playoff next Friday.
Bourn, 29, is batting .274/.346/.391 with 39 stolen bases and a career-high nine homers in 151 games.
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.