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Alex Cora of Boston Red Sox surprised by Carson Smith’s comment on injury



BOSTON — Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he was surprised to hear that reliever Carson Smith feels that fatigue could have contributed to his dislocated pitching shoulder.

Smith was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday.

“I don’t agree with it,” Cora said when he met the media Wednesday at Fenway Park before the team’s series finale against Oakland. “On a daily basis, we talk to pitchers and see how they feel. “If they don’t feel that they can pitch that day, we stay away from them.

“It caught me by surprise. If he felt that way, he should have talked to us.”

Smith, a 28-year-old right-hander, was injured when he threw his glove during a tantrum in the dugout after leaving Monday night’s 6-5 loss to Oakland. He entered with the Red Sox trailing 5-4 in the eighth, allowed Khris Davis‘ leadoff home run, then retired three straight batters.

After he was placed on the DL, Smith opened up.

“I think fatigue played a factor with my shoulder, and my shoulder just couldn’t handle it,” he said. “Think my shoulder’s tired in general. Yeah, it’s just from pitching. I’ve thrown a lot lately, and I think my arm was just tired.”

Smith said he tossed his glove regularly.

Cora said he hadn’t had a chance to talk to Smith yet, but that he will.

“We ask everybody, all the relievers [how they feel],” Cora said. “We talk to them on a daily basis: ‘Where you guys at?’ We have information that’s very important to our decision-making. There have been some days that he felt like he wasn’t available.”

Smith was 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA in 18 games before he went on the DL. He was acquired from Seattle before the 2016 season to be a setup man for closer Craig Kimbrel but has been limited to 29 games for the Red Sox. He had Tommy John surgery two years ago and returned to appear in eight games last September.

Cora said the club had no update on Smith’s recent injury, and that there would be more tests.

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Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw throw simulated game, nears return



LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw is one step closer to a return with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kershaw pitched a four-inning simulated game Saturday, raising the possibility that he could be back in their rotation next week. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been on the disabled list nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis.

Asked if he should be able to go in five days, Kershaw said: “Yeah, I should be.”

Kershaw got up and down, mirroring game conditions, and pitched to Cody Bellinger, Chase Utley, Austin Barnes and Enrique Hernandez. Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA this season.

It’s not certain he’ll pitch in five days, when the Dodgers play Philadelphia in the finale of a 10-game homestand.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who watched the workout with Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, wants to see how Kershaw feels before determining when and where he will pitch next. Roberts had not yet talked to Kershaw before speaking with reporters.

“That’s really encouraging,” Roberts said after learning Kershaw said he should be ready to be back in the rotation. “For us, we’ve still got to talk through some things and make sure the right situation is for Kersh. A lot of it depends on how he feels (Sunday) and how things play out. Having him pitch today, feeling good coming off the mound, a lot of positives.”

Through this stint on the disabled list, Kershaw found himself examining his mechanics.

“You never should focus on mechanics when you’re competing. That’s what the in between is,” Kershaw said. “I’ve never really been a mechanics guy. The past few weeks I’ve been working on it a little bit. It’s probably the first time that I can remember that I really focused on it.”

Kershaw declined to explain what motivated him to focus on mechanics. The 30-year-old left-hander was positive about where he’s at now.

“It’s so hard to tell. Been working on little stuff here and there,” Kershaw said. “You start focusing on getting hitters out and you stop thinking about your mechanics. Start worrying about trying to get people out. Hopefully muscle memory is ingrained in there. Felt a little bit better today.”

Kershaw hadn’t felt as positive following his previous bullpen, but he was encouraged Saturday.

“You can’t simulate a big league game. All the things you do to prepare to pitch a big league game, you really don’t know where you’re at until you’re in one,” Kershaw said. “You do all you can to prepare. Ultimately, the only way to figure out if you’re ready or not is to face guys. I feel like I didn’t lose a whole lot from where I was but worked on a lot these last few weeks to try to get better and try to get healthy.”

The Dodgers, who were one win away from the World Series title last year, are below .500.

“Being on the DL is no fun. Thankful that it wasn’t too incredibly long,” Kershaw said. “Just to be able to get back out there. You don’t feel a part of the team a whole lot when you’re on the DL. It’s good to be out there and hopefully help a little bit.”

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Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia returns to lineup after knee surgery



BOSTON — Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is back after being sidelined by offseason knee surgery.

The 2008 American League MVP and four-time All Star went 0-for-4 with a walk and scored in Boston’s 8-6 victory against the Atlanta Braves on Saturday.

He received a standing ovation when he came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the first. He flied out to right to end the inning.

“It was great to be back, a great win for us, and it was exciting,” he said. “I’ll never forget that first at-bat. That was pretty cool.”

The 34-year-old Pedroia admitted to some nervousness in the clubhouse before batting practice.

“Yeah, it’s been a long time, a lot of work put into to get to this point,” he said. “So, yeah, I’ll be a little nervous.”

Pedroia had cartilage-restoration surgery on his left knee seven months ago. He was not in Boston’s Opening Day lineup for the first time since 2007.

He batted sixth in his return to the Red Sox (36-16).

“I don’t want to break up the top two,” manager Alex Cora said. “I’m very comfortable with them the way they’re getting on base.

“I think that’s a good spot for him to have traffic in front of him.”

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Cleveland Indians place Andrew Miller on DL



The Cleveland Indians have placed Andrew Miller on the 10-day disabled list, as the left-handed reliever deals with right knee issues that also marred his 2017 season.

Miller allowed three runs in less than an inning of an 11-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday. He has struggled since missing two weeks with a strained hamstring.

“I’m definitely not sharp,” Miller said after Friday’s game. “I wish I had the answers. I think there’s flashes of it, but it’s been a pretty big grind lately.”

A two-time All-Star, the 32-year-old left-hander was on the DL twice last season with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.

He was officially placed on the DL this time with right knee inflammation.

Right-hander Evan Marshall was recalled to fill the open roster spot.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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