Nolan Arenado could begin a rehab assignment soon

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Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is making some headway towards a return to the club. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that Arenado hit off a tee on Thursday afternoon and will take batting practice on Friday. If all goes well, he could begin a rehab assignment soon, perhaps within a week.

Arenado has been on the disabled list since May 24, when he suffered a left mallet finger fracture on a head-first slide in a game the previous night. Given that the estimated recovery period is between six to eight weeks, Arenado starting a rehab assignment soon could mean he misses only the minimum amount of time.

Arenado was having a great season prior to the injury, slashing .305/.333/.489 with six home runs and 28 RBI in 204 plate appearances. The Rockies could use him back, as they’ve gone 9-21 in the time since.

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.