In a surprise move, the Dodgers announced today that ace Clayton Kershaw will start the club’s game tomorrow, as Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times was among those to tweet. Kershaw, who is coming back from a lower back strain, had been scheduled for a rehab outing but evidently felt up to the task of jumping back to the bigs after missing about three weeks of action. That’s promising news for the Los Angeles organization, which will hope that the southpaw can not only avoid a third trip to the DL this year, but return to form after a less-than-dominant (by his lofty standards, at least) start to the season.
More from the National League:
- The Mets, on the other hand, will face off against Kershaw without one of their key players. Slugger Yoenis Cespedes has been down longer than might have been hoped with a hip injury. While the club announced today that Cespedes is still not running or taking part in baseball activities due to ongoing symptoms, GM Sandy Alderson suggested it’s possible the veteran outfielder may get moving again early next week. (Via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, on Twitter.) At this point, though, it’s still anyone’s guess just when he may make it back to the bigs.
- For the Nationals, health has been a major problem all season long. The club has received reasonably promising news of late regarding two key assets, though. Stephen Strasburg has now thrown the ball twice this week without apparent incident, as Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com was among those to tweet. That seems to indicate that his shoulder inflammation is beginning to subside, though the real tests are surely yet to come. Meanwhile, president of baseball ops Mike Rizzo said in an appearance on 106.7 The Fan (via TalkNats.com) that outfield prospect Victor Robles is nearly ready to resume baseball activities after a long layoff from a hyper-extended elbow. If he’s able to progress from there, Robles may yet be back in action this year. The club may not call upon him to play a role in the majors in 2018, but having Robles available would surely be beneficial, and getting him back in action would also help with sorting the plans for 2019.
- The odds seem rather long, to say the least, but Jon Heyman of Fan Rag wrote yesterday that the Padres have at least checked in with the Orioles on star infielder Manny Machado. That connection might make greater sense if the Padres were a more plausible contender or, at least, if Machado was not slated to reach free agency at season’s end. As it stands, it’s tough to fathom the Friars unloading young talent in an attempt to chase the postseason this year. Doing so in earnest, in all likelihood, would mean adding multiple other pieces as well. It could still make sense, though, for the Padres to get a gauge on Baltimore’s situation. The Pads could face some 40-man pressures this winter, so there could be an opportunity to function as a part of a three-team arrangement. If the club is really feeling bold, perhaps it could make an early strike for Machado with plans to flip him if a sudden run up the standings doesn’t ensue, though a mid-season gambit of that kind involving a rental player of Machado’s caliber would be sui generis.