Might the Red Sox make Brad Ausmus their next manager?

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The Red Sox have a few options as they embark on the hunt for a new manager for the second straight offseason.

– They can talk to the Blue Jays about a trade for John Farrell, their former pitching coach who left two years ago to manage in Toronto (I’m not a fan of this one).

– They can go take another look at several of the candidates they passed over in favor of Bobby Valentine last year. That list includes such names as Gene Lamont, Pete Mackanin, Sandy Alomar Jr., plus a couple of guys they chose not to interview in Dave Martinez and Ryne Sandberg.

– They can dip further into their past and interview former players Mike Lowell, Bill Mueller and Jason Varitek, if any of them want the job. Lowell’s name came up with the Marlins last month. Varitek, just hired as a special assistant, probably isn’t ready for the commitment of managing just yet.

– They can make a clean break from the past and try someone entirely new. Someone like Brad Ausmus.

Now, this is just my speculation, but Ausmus interviewed for the Astros managerial opening last month, only to remove himself from consideration afterwards. Could it be that the Red Sox let the native New Englander that they were going to have an opening? Ausmus has history with the Astros, but he was raised in Connecticut and he went to school at Dartmouth in New Hampshire. If he’s going to move his family from San Diego, Boston might be the more attractive option.

Ausmus was widely viewed as a future manager while playing. He’s respected by pretty much everybody everywhere. Given that he was primarily a National Leaguer during his 18-year career, it’s possible his preferences might run a little more towards small ball than the Red Sox would like, but I don’t really know that to be the case.

The Red Sox must start over after a year and a month of disastrous baseball. Bringing in a manager who has never been connected with the team might be a good start. If not Ausmus, then perhaps Martinez, the Rays’ bench coach, or Sandberg, whose new job with the Phillies won’t prevent him from auditioning elsewhere. It’s time to chart a new course rather than attempt to recapture the magic of 2007.

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.