Rangers send top prospect Jurickson Profar to Triple-A

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At various points this offseason there was speculation about how the Rangers could clear room in the lineup for stud middle infield prospect Jurickson Profar, but no trades were ever made and today they assigned him to Triple-A.

Profar is only 20 years old and jumped from Double-A to the majors for his MLB debut in September, so a little time at Triple-A will probably do him some good even if almost everyone seems to think he’s just about ready to thrive in the big leagues.

Profar hit .281 with 14 homers, 16 steals, and an .820 OPS at Double-A last season, which is incredible for a 19-year-old shortstop and got him ranked by both Baseball America and MLB.com as MLB’s top overall prospect.

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.