Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell could leave to join the Phillies

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The Phillies have already hired Larry Bowa to be Ryne Sandberg’s bench coach, but another familiar face could soon return to the fold.

According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, the Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell will likely talk to the Phillies about replacing Rich Dubee. He’ll be free to do so after his contract expires at midnight tonight. The Braves have invited him back for 2014, but a final decision won’t be made until he has a chance to talk to the division rival.

McDowell, who pitched with the Phillies from 1989-1991, was hired by the Braves in October of 2005 after Leo Mazzone joined the Orioles. While the club has the best ERA in the game dating back to 2009, Bowman hears that McDowell is “one of the game’s lowest-paid pitching coaches.” He should be in line for a raise no matter what he does next.

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.