Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to search for bullpen help after missing out on Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.
Fujikawa chose the Cubs, perhaps in part because he wanted a chance to be a closer and the Angels had just signed Ryan Madson to more or less fill that role.
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com says Dipoto’s fallback plan includes left-hander Sean Burnett and right-hander Mike Adams, both of whom have been excellent setup men for years. Joakim Soria was another Dipoto target, but like Fujikawa he may not be an option for the Angels because he wants to close.
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.