Rockies bring back catcher Yorvit Torrealba on minor league deal

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UPDATE: Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that Torrealba has received a minor league contract with a spring training invite. The Rockies are looking at him as insurance and depth with Ramon Hernandez slated to play for his native Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.

11:15 PM: According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Rockies have signed catcher Yorvit Torrealba. It’s not clear whether he has received a major league deal or not, but Thomas Harding of MLB.com reported earlier this week that the Rockies had offered him a minor league contract.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Torrealba, who previously played with the club from 2006-2009 and enjoyed his best seasons there. The 34-year-old backstop batted just .227/.293/.330 with four home runs, 14 RBI and a .623 OPS in 218 plate appearances last season between the Rangers, Blue Jays and Brewers.

The Rockies already have Wilin Rosario and Ramon Hernandez as their projected catching tandem, so it’s unlikely there will be a place for Torrealba on the Opening Day roster unless there’s an injury. It’s worth noting that Hernandez had left hamstring surgery in September, so perhaps the Rockies just wanted some veteran insurance.

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.