John Danks set to begin rehab assignment Thursday

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John Danks has progressed enough in his recovery from August shoulder surgery that the White Sox left-hander is scheduled to make his first minor-league rehab start Thursday at Double-A.

Scott Merkin of MLB.com reports that the White Sox don’t have a set plan yet for how many rehab starts Danks will be asked to make. Danks told Merkin that he expects it to be at least 2-3 starts, but Gavin Floyd’s injury could hasten the timetable a bit if things go well early on.

Danks signed a five-year, $65 million contract extension in December of 2011, but was limited to just nine ineffective starts last season before being shut down.

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.