Carlos Martinez can’t report to Cardinals camp because of visa issues in Dominican Republic

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Cardinals prospect Carlos Martinez has missed the entirety of spring training and remains stuck in the Dominican Republic because he hasn’t been cleared for a work visa.

Not only did it cost Martinez a chance to impress the coaching staff in major-league camp, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that whenever he does arrive in the United States he’ll likely be so far behind other pitchers that he won’t be ready to begin the season in the minors.

According to Goold he’s been working out, but isn’t on a formal throwing program and there’s still no timetable for when the work visa will be approved despite MLB’s involvement in the process. Apparently changing his name from Carlos Matias to Carlos Martinez when he signed with the Cardinals in 2009 has come up as a red flag now.

Baseball America rated the 21-year-old right-hander as a top-40 prospect this year and 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.