The Yankees lineup tonight includes two welcome names: Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis. The former is batting cleanup and playing first base. The latter is DHing and batting second.
Teixeira, of course, has been out since early in spring training, when he tore the tendon sheath in his right wrist while taking batting practice in preparation for the World Baseball Classic. Youkilis has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 28 with a lumbar spine strain.
Teixeira has been though by some to have his years of stardom all in the rear view mirror. Youk was hitting .266/.347/.422 in 72 plate appearances before he went down, which was not the Youk of old. But given what Joe Girardi has had to work with in recent weeks, both in the lineup have to be considered genuine sights for sore eyes.
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.