Jason Grilli ready to throw, “making progress as scheduled”

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Jason Grilli has vowed to pitch again this season after being shut down with a strained flexor muscle in his forearm and so far so good.

Grilli is slated to play catch for the first time this weekend and the Pirates closer told Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that he’s “making progress as scheduled, as hoped, as planned.”

Grilli was initially given a 4-8 week recovery timetable on July 26, so there’s still a long way to go before the Pirates can start thinking about their late-inning bullpen situation. In the meantime Mark Melancon will continue to fill in as closer and has converted all five save chances since Grilli went 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.