MLB In Full Bloom - Kershaw Set To Return - 5/1/2014

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Clayton Kershaw looked sharp in his second minor league rehab start Wednesday night with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts. He struck out nine batters while allowing just one earned run in five innings against the Southern League affiliate - Tennessee Smokies - of the Chicago Cubs. He made it to 56 pitches last Friday in his rehab debut at High-A Rancho Cucamonga and threw 86 pitches on Wednesday at Chattanooga. The Dodgers should be better about letting him get near 100 pitches his next time out. As long as Kershaw is pain free today, his next time out should be Monday against the Nationals. Kershaw has been on the disabled list since March 29 with a muscle strain. The one start he has made this season in the major leagues was on March 23 against the Diamondbacks in Australia.

MLB NEWS & NOTES

  • Jesse Chavez threw seven shutout innings on Wednesday as the Athletics defeated the Rangers 12-1. Chavez was moved into the Athletics rotation after Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin suffered injuries, has been outstanding for the A's. Chavez allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out eight on Wednesday and lowered his ERA down 1.89.
  • Miguel Montero belted his first career walkoff homer to beat the Rockies Wednesday 5-4 in 10 innings. Montero has heated up since he was shifted into the cleanup spot, and he ends April with a five-game hitting streak. Montero has been a productive fantasy catcher so far with a  .278 BA with 16 RBI with 97 at-bats.
  • Anthony Rendon went 4-for-4 with his fourth homer with a couple doubles and three RBI to lead the Nationals to a 7-0 win over the Astros on Wednesday. Rendon already has 16 extra-base in 113 at-bats for the season, which is far ahead of last year's pace of 31 in 351 at-bats. Fantasy owners should not  20 home runs from him this year, but a .300+ BA is certainly a fair expectation.
  • Seth Smith (groin) was back in the starting lineup Wednesday night against the Giants.  The groin injury cost Smith five straight starts, but he came off the bench for a pinch-hit appearance Tuesday and is now ready to return to the starting lineup. He has had very little success against left-handers this year so fantasy owners should spot start Smith against right-handers only for now.
  • Aaron Harang suffered his first tough start of the season and the honeymoon period for fantasy owners with the right-hander could be over. Harang allowed nine runs in 4 2/3 innings to the Marlins as the Braves lost 9-3 on Wednesday. He entered the start with a league-leading 0.85 ERA, having gone six innings in all five of his starts. Harang will try to bounce back against the   Cardinals in his next start, but fantasy owners that did not sell high on Harang now must look at match ups before starting Harang.
  • Tyler Chatwood (elbow) was placed on the 15-day disabled list and  underwent an MRI Wednesday on his strained right elbow.  The results of the MRI are expected to be known soon and when asked about the severity of the injury, Chatwood was not sending a positive message. He had surgery in October to remove a bone chip from his elbow, but the Rockies don't know if his current injury is related to that injury. Could this be yet another pitcher heading towards Tommy John surgery? Absolutely. 
  • Matt Garza (thumb) was diagnosed with a right thumb contusion after leaving Wednesday's start and is considered day-to-day. The Brewers will probably see if Garza feels better after a couple of days off. Garza will also have  to complete a bullpen session before the Brewers decide if he'll be able to make his next start. He's tentatively on track to make his next turn Monday against the Diamondbacks.