Diamondbacks exercise J.J. Putz’s option for 2013

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As expected, the Diamondbacks announced today that they have exercised the $6.5 million club option on J.J. Putz’s contract for next season.

This was a pretty easy call for the Diamondbacks, as Putz has proved to be an excellent bargain for the club so far. Putz, who turns 36 in February, has earned $8.5 million over the past two seasons while posting a 2.48 ERA and 126/23 K/BB ratio over 112 1/3 innings. He is 77-for-86 in save opportunities during that timespan.

Putz’s career was at a crossroads after an elbow injury limited him to 29 appearances with the Mets in 2009, but he has made 57 or more appearances in each of the last three seasons.

While Putz will be in the fold for 2013, Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers is open to the idea of keeping him long-term. According to Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona, Towers said today that he hopes to talk to Putz soon about a possible contract extension which would allow him to finish his career with Arizona.

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.