Victor Martinez to begin baserunning program today

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Victor Martinez is one year removed from tearing his ACL last January and he’s scheduled to begin a baserunning program today.

There was some hope that Martinez could make it back at the end of last season, but that was quickly ruled out and Lynn Henning of the Detroit News writes that the Tigers then changed his recovery timetable to “a slower, steadier rehabilitation program.”

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand told Henning that Martinez “is doing real, real well” and “has been hitting for a bit more than a month, from soft-toss swings to regular swings, feeling real well, and with no issues.”

Still, it’s interesting that one year after the injury Martinez is just now beginning to run the bases.

His days of catching are over, but adding a healthy Martinez to a lineup that already ranked sixth in scoring among AL teams last season could be a big boost to the Tigers. Martinez hit .330 with 12 homers, 40 doubles, and an .850 OPS for the Tigers in 2011, whereas Detroit’s designated hitters batted a combined .257 with a .687 OPS last year.

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.