Clayton Kershaw to return tonight

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Clayton Kershaw is back. He’ll take the mound for the Dodgers tonight. It’ll be the first time Kershaw has thrown a pitch in anger since June 26, in Pittsburgh.

When Kershaw went down the Dodgers were eight games behind the Giants, with a record of 41-36. Since then they’ve gone 38-24 and now find themselves thirteen games better in the standings, five up on those same Giants. This is not some Ewing Theory situation, of course — the Giants sucking eggs has had a whole lot to do with the Dodgers ascending — but the Dodgers being able to do what they’ve done without baseball’s best pitcher is pretty dang astounding. It’s mostly a function of the bullpen pitching fantastically, the offense taking a big leap forward and the rotation turning into an 11-man behemoth that, while not world-beating, has been far better than you’d think a cast its size would be.

Which is to say that getting a guy who went 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA and 145 strikeouts against only 9 unintentional walks in 121 innings is a good thing, regardless of how the club did without him. The only question now is what kind of stamina Kershaw has. He missed a lot of time and only threw three innings in his lone minor league rehab start. Sure, he struck out five guys in those three innings, but it wasn’t exactly the toughest competition.

He’ll be tested tonight, going head-to-head against Jose Fernandez and the Marlins at 7:10pm eastern in Miami. Definitely a game you should plan on watching if you have the ability.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster 11-year, $280 million contract, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.