Orioles option top prospect Dylan Bundy to Double-A Bowie

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It’s official: Dylan Bundy will open the 2013 season in the minors.

The Orioles announced this morning that Bundy was optioned to Double-A Bowie. Widely regarded as the best pitching prospect in the game, the 20-year-old right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) in eight innings this spring to go along with five strikeouts and six walks.

Bundy made two appearances with the Orioles last September, but today’s cut doesn’t come as a big surprise. However, if all goes well, he could be up to the majors for good later this year.

Bundy, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, breezed through his first year of pro ball last year by posting a 2.08 ERA and 119/28 K/BB ratio over 103 2/3 innings between Class A Delmarva, High-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Baseball America ranked him as the No. 2 prospect on their Top 100 list last month behind the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar.

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.