The Pirates are shopping Joel Hanrahan

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Joel Hanrahan has been a quality closer for the Pirates for the past two seasons, but he’s about to get another raise in arbitration and can become a free agent next offseason. With that in mind, ESPN’s Buster Olney hears that the Pirates are currently trying to gauge his trade value.

Hanrahan is coming off an odd season in which he posted a 2.72 ERA, 36 saves and a 67 strikeouts over 59 2/3 innings, but he also averaged 5.4 BB/9, up from 2.7 BB/9 over the previous two seasons. The 31-year-old right-hander made $4.1 million in 2012 and will likely see his salary rise to the $6-7 million range next season.

Capuano would be a nice addition to the Pirates’ rotation, as he has a solid 4.12 ERA over the past two seasons, but he’s also set to become a free agent after 2013. You’d like to think the Pirates could get more for Hanrahan, or at least someone who could contribute beyond next season. Signing Russell Martin and dealing Hanrahan would send mixed messages to the fanbase, so I doubt this would be a real possibility unless the Pirates are able to bring back Jason Grilli, who FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday is drawing some interest as a closer.

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.