Marc Rzepczynski
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Diamondbacks sign Marc Rzepczynski, Ricky Nolasco to minor league deals

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The Diamondbacks have inked two free agent relievers to minor league pacts, the team announced Friday. Both left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and right-hander Ricky Nolasco will receive spring training invites.

Rzepczynski, 33, has not pitched anything close to a full season since 2016. He labored through a handful of games with the Mariners and Indians in 2018 and closed out the year with a disappointing 11 runs, 10 walks, and 11 strikeouts through 10 1/3 innings pitched. His short-lived stints in Triple-A ball yielded mixed results, too, and he didn’t appear to attract wide interest from depth-starved clubs after holding a pitching showcase last month. While he may not be the lights-out lefty specialist of seasons past, however, he could still prove useful to the D-backs if he can inch toward the sub-3.00 ERA and 0.5-fWAR threshold he once cleared with ease.

Nolasco, like Rzepczynski, has a few hurdles left to clear in order to earn a spot on the D-backs Opening Day roster. The 36-year-old righty didn’t make it out of the Royals’ camp last spring, and spent the entire season on the major and minor league sidelines after posting a 4.92 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 0.8 fWAR with the Angels in 2017. There’s no certainty that he’ll make it any further this time around, but it would be surprising if he turned in worse results than the 19.64 ERA, 7.3 BB/9, and 4.9 SO/9 he managed last March.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.