Rangers clear Matt Harrison for rehab assignment

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On the disabled list as he tries to return from multiple back surgeries last season, Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison has been cleared to make a minor-league rehab start Thursday at Double-A.

Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that Harrison is scheduled to throw four innings and “likely needs a few more starts, every five days, before he could join the rotation.”

That seemingly rules him out until May, especially since the Rangers will probably avoid rushing Harrison along after he was limited to just two starts last season due to back surgeries and Thoracic Outlet Syndrom.

Prior to having his 2013 ruined by health problems Harrison threw 213 innings with a 3.29 ERA for the Rangers in 2012, so whether it’s late April or early May getting him back would be a huge boost to Texas’ injury wrecked rotation.

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.