Clayton Kershaw threw a simulated game today as he continues to work toward a return from his back injury, and Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times tweets that the Dodgers’ ace is now scheduled for a minor league rehab start this coming Saturday. McCullough cites Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt in reporting that Kershaw is slated to throw four innings and 60 pitches in what will be his first live game action since landing on the disabled list last month. It’s encouraging news for the Dodgers, as that timetable should line Kershaw up for a return in early or mid-September, giving him at least two to three weeks before the postseason begins.
More from the game’s western divisions….
- Left-hander Robbie Ray will return to the Diamondbacks’ rotation on Thursday of this week, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. The 25-year-old breakout lefty was in the midst of an outstanding season when he was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Cardinals first baseman Luke Voit on July 28. Ray exited the game and went on the concussion DL, where he’ll ultimately have spent just under a month if he is activated as planned on Thursday. Ray made a rehab start with Class-A Advanced Visalia over the weekend and struck out 11 of the 21 batters he faced, which had to be encouraging for the D-backs. Through 118 2/3 MLB innings, Ray has a 3.11 ERA with 11.5 K/9, 4.4 BB/9 and a 38.9 percent ground-ball rate.
- MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tackles a number of Rangers-related topics in his latest Rangers Inbox piece, ranging from the possibility of re-signing Carlos Gomez to the PTBNL in the Jonathan Lucroy trade with the Rockies and Jurickson Profar’s future in Texas. Of Gomez, Sullivan notes that before committing to another contract with Gomez, the Rangers first need to definitively determine a position for Joey Gallo. Sullivan also opines that the Rangers should commit left field to the fleet-footed Delino DeShields, though that would leave the team needing to effectively choose between Gomez and Drew Robinson. Per Sullivan, the Rangers view the 25-year-old Robinson “as a frontline talent,” though they’ve also been reluctant to hand starting roles to players without a veteran safety net. Robinson hit .268/.369/.494 with 11 homers and seven steals in Triple-A this year, but he’s batted .209/.382/.442 in 55 big league PAs. Robinson has never cracked Baseball America’s top 20 Rangers prospects and isn’t among Texas’ top 30 at MLB.com at present, though certainly that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a quality MLB future ahead of him.
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a mailbag column of his own up that Padres fans will want to check out. Within, Lin notes that Hunter Renfroe’s recent demotion wasn’t about service time — the optional assignment is highly unlikely to impact his path to arbitration or free agency — but rather about sending a message to improve his plate discipline. Manager Andy Green spoke recently about how a similar option to the minors did wonders for Cory Spangenberg, and the organization’s hope is that Renfroe will benefit similarly. Lin also touches on Jose Pirela’s long-term fit with the team, various speculative offseason trade scenarios and the Padres’ shortstop needs. Notably, he opines that the team’s 2018 Opening Day shortstop is not currently in the organization.