As first reported by Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Miami has signed free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year, $21 million contract. The deal is only pending a physical.
Salty drew serious interest from the Twins, Rangers, Rockies and Blue Jays before settling Tuesday with the Fish. He’ll take over as Miami’s starting catcher in 2014, with Jeff Mathis likely acting as his primary backup. Rob Brantly was supposed to be the club’s long-term answer at the position, but the 24-year-old has hit just .235/.298/.325 with four homers and 26 RBI in his first 356 major league plate appearances.
Saltalamacchia, 28, batted .273/.338/.466 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI across 470 plate appearances this past season for the Red Sox. He is a .246/.310/.428 career hitter in 595 total major league games.
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.