Josh Hamilton leaves Texas without giving Rangers chance to match Angels’ offer

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Josh Hamilton is leaving the Rangers to sign a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels and it’s interesting to hear how Texas got the news.

First of all, Hamilton’s agent called Rangers general manager Jon Daniels during this afternoon’s media luncheon to tell him the former MVP was going to their AL West rivals.

According to Daniels the Rangers were not given an opportunity to match the offer and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram characterizes the GM as “not pleased with how negotiations ended.”

On the other hand it apparently doesn’t come as a total shock to Daniels, who admitted that Hamilton hinted last week he perhaps wanted a new start somewhere else.

And of course it’s not even clear if the Rangers were interested in topping the Angels’ offer, which is pretty damn huge for a soon-to-be 32-year-old with plenty of question marks attached on and off the field.

Hamilton’s departure obviously leaves a big hole in the Rangers’ lineup, which was already righty dominant with Hamilton. It’ll be interesting to see if they make a run at switch-hitting Nick Swisher, who seems like the most natural fit to replace Hamilton among the unsigned free agents.

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.