A.J. Burnett turned down $12 million from Pirates for $16 million from Phillies

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Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has a follow-up to A.J. Burnett signing a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies, reporting that the free agent right-hander turned down a one-year, $12 million deal from the Pirates.

At the beginning of the offseason Pittsburgh chose not to make Burnett a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer that would have fetched them draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere (and likely driven down his market value). And then they failed to match the Phillies’ offer, choosing to let Burnett walk over $4 million after he threw 393 innings with a 3.41 ERA for the Pirates during the past two seasons.

Instead they’ll save money and put a lot of faith in guys like Wandy Rodriguez, Charlie Morton, and Edinson Volquez to fill out the rotation behind Francisco Liriano and Gerrit Cole, who’s suddenly the No. 2 starter at age 23.

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.