Angels “optimistic” Garrett Richards will be ready for April

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As of six weeks ago Angels manager Mike Scioscia was telling reporters that the team didn’t expect Garrett Richards back from knee surgery until May, but apparently that return timetable has changed.

General manager Jerry Dipoto told Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register that the Angels are “optimistic” about Richards’ progress and believe he may be ready by Opening Day. And if not, early April is now the targeted return date.

Richards had a breakout 2014 season before tearing his left patellar tendon, logging 169 innings with a 2.61 ERA and 164/51 K/BB ratio at age 26. His rehab has advanced to throwing from 150 feet.

Clayton Kershaw returning to Dodgers on 1-year, $20M deal

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LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will pitch for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2023 after signing a one-year, $20 million deal.

For the second straight year, the Dodgers didn’t extend a qualifying offer to the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Instead, they gave him additional time to mull his future, and he once again decided to stay with the only franchise he’s ever played for during his 15-year major league career.

The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus payable on June 30, a salary of $15 million and a hotel suite on road trips.

The 34-year-old left-hander was 12-3 with 2.28 ERA in 22 starts last season. He struck out 137 and walked 23. Kershaw made his ninth All-Star team and started the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career at Dodger Stadium.

Last April, he became the franchise’s all-time strikeout leader with 2,697. He reached 2,800 strikeouts in his last start of the regular season on Oct. 5 against Colorado. Kershaw ranks 24th all-time with 2,807.

Kershaw has a career record of 197-87 with a 2.48 ERA. He won his only World Series title in 2020, when the Dodgers beat Tampa Bay during the pandemic-shortened season.