If Clayton Kershaw gets healthy, what sort of return do you see him fetching at the non-waiver Trade Deadline?
Define "healthy" for a pitcher with 2,000-plus innings who has been on the disabled list four of the past five years and currently has a sore left shoulder. OK, let's say none of that is an issue going forward, and Kershaw throws four shutouts prior to the non-waiver Trade Deadline and the Dodgers are out of contention. On June 3, Kershaw reaches 10 years of service time, and because the past five have been with the Dodgers, he will have full veto power on any potential trade. Like any player, Kershaw wants a World Series ring. But he is obsessed with habit and routine, and there is nothing more disruptive to a Major League player than to be traded midseason.
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So Kershaw would need to approve of any deal. The acquiring club must be willing to take the risk of absorbing roughly $10 million this year plus the remaining $65 million on his contract for 2019 and '20 if he doesn't opt out, which he won't if he's hurt again. That risk will weigh heavily on what an acquiring club is willing to give up. Like everything else with Kershaw, a Deadline trade is complicated.
When Justin Turner returns, how will his wrist be protected from reinjury based on his batting style and penchant for being hit?
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You won't see Turner wearing a bulky hard plastic shield, you will see tightly-wrapped blue tape. Under that tape, Turner said, will be a "G-Form Pro Wrist Guard." It is a skin-like, form-fitting, impact-resisting compression pad that protects the body without limiting mobility or impeding the swing.
Is there an update on Alvin Toles?
Nothing good to report. Manager Dave Roberts said last week that Toles, who pulled a hamstring on April 13 playing for Triple-A Oklahoma City, had a setback in his rehab and is not on the radar for a return anytime soon. Of greater concern is that Toles has now suffered two serious leg injuries and has been limited to 37 games over the past two seasons.
Has an assistant batting coach been on the bench all year?
Brant Brown and Luis Ortiz replaced Tim Hyers and Shawn Wooten as assistant hitting coaches this year, and they are switching off between stints with the Dodgers and Oklahoma City, as Hyers and Wooten did last year.
What happens when Pat Venditte faces a switch-hitter?
Because Venditte is ambidextrous and pitches with either hand depending on whether the batter is left-handed or right-handed, a rule was implemented after a Minor League game in which Venditte and the hitter got into a standoff, with each repeatedly switching from right to left. The rule states that at the beginning of the plate appearance, the pitcher must clearly indicate to the umpire and batter which hand he will use, then the hitter can choose which side of the plate he will stand.
The pitcher then cannot change which hand he uses to throw during that batter's plate appearance unless he suffers an injury, and if the pitcher then changes hands, he can't use the injured hand again in that game.
What's happening with Edwin Rios? I keep looking for him in Triple-A and he isn't on the roster.
Rios suffered a calf injury at the end of Spring Training and reinjured it while rehabbing. He did make an impression in big league spring camp, when he hit .379 with a 1.202 OPS, but he also struck out 13 times in 29 at-bats.