Shane Victorino has been activated from the 15-day disabled list and will bat sixth and play right field in his return tonight against the Royals. The Red Sox have optioned Mookie Betts back to Triple-A Pawtucket in a corresponding roster move.
Victorino hasn’t played in the majors since he aggravated a right hamstring strain on May 23. The 33-year-old had multiple setbacks during his rehab, including an issue with his back, but he played three games with Class A Lowell prior to the All-Star break and back-to-back games with Triple-A Pawtucket on Thursday and Friday. Limited to just 21 games this season, Victorino is batting just .242/.276/.352 with one home run, 10 RBI, and two stolen bases.
Betts is the odd-man out now that Victorino is healthy. The 21-year-old batted .235 (8-for-34) with one home run and two doubles in his first taste of the majors and is better off playing everyday in Triple-A for now. He doesn’t figure to be down in the minors for long, especially if the Red Sox move players like Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
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.