Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said Saturday that he’ll be ready to rejoin their rotation in five days, though it’ll be up to the team whether that happens, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Kershaw’s four-inning simulated game on Saturday went well enough that he may be able to avoid a rehab assignment, despite having been on the disabled list since May 7 with biceps tendinitis. The left-hander is part of a large group of important Dodgers who have missed significant time this year, thus helping to explain the reigning NL champions’ 23-27 start. LA has won seven of its past eight, however, and is within a manageable 3.5 games of first-place Colorado in the NL West.
- Pirates starter Ivan Nova has a strained ligament in his right index finger and may be headed to the DL, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweets. To prepare for Nova’s potential absence, the Pirates had their Triple-A affiliate pull righty Nick Kingham from his start after just one inning on Friday, per Mason Wittner of MLB.com. The 26-year-old Kingham made the first three big league starts of his career earlier this season and held his own, with a a 3.44 ERA/2.56 FIP and outstanding strikeout and walk rates (10.31 K/9, .98 BB/9) across 18 1/3 innings. While Nova hasn’t been nearly as effective as Kingham, he has logged playable numbers over 11 starts and 61 1/3 frames (4.96 ERA/4.28 FIP, 6.86 K/9, 1.46 BB/9 and a 50.7 percent groundball rate).
- Giants second baseman Joe Panik is on track to come off the DL next weekend, Kerry Crowley of the Bay Area News Group suggests. In the meantime, he’ll open a four- or five-game rehab assignment on Monday. Panik will end up missing upward of a month after undergoing left thumb surgery in late April. He hasn’t played since April 27, and fill-in Alen Hanson has been out for two weeks, leaving the Giants with the underwhelming duo of Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez as their options at the keystone.
- Catcher Kevin Plawecki could rejoin the Mets on Monday, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com writes. Plawecki landed on the shelf with a hairline fracture in his left hand on April 13, when the Mets also announced that fellow backstop Travis d’Arnaud would undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. New York then received terrible behind-the-plate productions from subs Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton in the ensuing few weeks, leading it to acquire Devin Mesoraco from the Reds for righty Matt Harvey in a May 8 trade. The deal has worked out well for the Mets thus far, as Mesoraco has performed respectably enough that they’ll be able to ease Plawecki back into action when he returns, DiComo notes.