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Report: Athletics to sign Brett Anderson

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics and pitcher Brett Anderson are close to an agreement on a major league contract, pending a physical.

Anderson tweeted, “Fingers crossed for a passed physical tomorrow.”

Anderson, 31, signed a minor league contract with the A’s last March, making 17 starts during the regular season with a 4.48 ERA and a 47/13 K/BB ratio in 80 1/3 innings. The lefty battled a shoulder injury that kept him out between mid-May and early July. Anderson has historically had trouble staying healthy, crossing the 20-start threshold just once in a season (2015) since after his rookie campaign in 2009. He has made a total of 33 starts over the last three seasons.

For at least the first half of the upcoming season, the Athletics’ rotation will be missing Sean Manaea, Jharel Cotton, and Daniel Gossett, so Anderson will provide some much-needed depth at the back end. The front end of the rotation is not particularly inspiring as it includes Mike Fiers, Daniel Mengden, and Marco Estrada. Carrie Muskat reported for the Associated Press yesterday that the A’s are considering using “openers,” popularized by the Rays last year. Anderson could potentially be one of the starters who doesn’t officially start if the club opts to use an opener.

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.