Kershaw eager to begin rehab from back injury

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LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw wants to pitch again right away. He knows his doctors will have a more patient plan.

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ three-time Cy Young winner received an epidural for lower back pain Thursday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a disc herniation the following day. He rejoined the ballclub on Saturday, already eager to find out when he’ll get back on the mound.

“I feel a little better now,” Kershaw said when asked how his body responded to the epidural. “I think it’s still pretty early to tell. It usually takes 3-to-5 days, but today’s the third day. I’m starting to get a little relief.”

Unbeaten in his 10 previous starts, Kershaw (11-2, 1.79) was tagged for four runs and nine hits over six innings in a 4-3 loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“I definitely didn’t do it on one pitch or anything like that,” he said. “I think it was probably just a progression.

“In the game Sunday I felt fine, and then on Monday it started getting a little bit worse. It was probably time at that point to get it checked out.”

Kershaw returned to Los Angeles from Milwaukee on Wednesday for an examination with Dr. Robert Watkins. His follow-up exam was scheduled for Saturday night, but he wasn’t thrilled with the wait.

“Yeah, I have a plan, but I haven’t seen Dr. Watkins for a follow-up,” Kershaw said. “I’ll see him around gametime (Saturday), and talk about a process, a program, and what he thinks, and go from there.”

Until Monday, Kershaw had chalked up his lower back stiffness to the rigors of playing major league baseball.

“It didn’t really affect me pitching,” he said. “It was just kind of a little bit of a grind at times to get to that point, but once the game started it didn’t really affect me pitching.”

When asked how long his back has been a bother, Kershaw said: “It’s tough to say. I feel like if you ask anybody in the clubhouse and they’ll say, `Oh, my lower back is a little stiff today.’ So I think everybody goes through that, and I didn’t think mine was any different.”

Kershaw said the pain was “not sharp” but difficult to describe, saying, “It’s just in my back. No pain down my legs or anything like that, which is a good sign.”

Kershaws spent almost six weeks on the disabled list to start the 2014 season, an experience he’s not eager to go through again.

“I’m going to be very impatient,” he said. “I’m going to try and pitch tomorrow.

“The DL sucks. There’s no getting around it. It’s awful. … You just feel like, whether you do or not, you just feel like you’re letting the team down by not pitching. It’s just the way it is. You’ve just got to get through it.”

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.