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Originally published Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 8:52 PM

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Clayton Kershaw to miss start with back injury


The Associated Press

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Clayton Kershaw will miss his scheduled start for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres this weekend because of an inflamed muscle in his back.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner had an MRI exam on Wednesday that showed the swollen muscle in his left upper back. Kershaw had complained of tightness while throwing in a workout on Tuesday.

The team said Kershaw’s next start will be decided by his progress while throwing in the next week.

The Dodgers open the North American portion of their schedule at San Diego on Sunday. They began the season with two victories over Arizona in Australia last week. Kershaw started the first game Down Under, winning 3-1.

Darvish on the DL

The Texas Rangers say ace Yu Darvish has no structural damage in his stiff neck but will likely begin the season on the disabled list.

Darvish was examined Wednesday by Dr. Keith Meister in Dallas. The right-hander will start a throwing program this weekend and won’t need any injections.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels says he expects Darvish will be put on the 15-day DL. The Rangers open Monday at home against Philadelphia.

“I would think so, yes,” Daniels said. “That’s kind of where it’s headed. We’re looking at 10 days already. He will play catch Saturday and if he continues to improve, then we’ll put a plan together from there.”

Darvish led the majors in strikeouts last year. With him out, Tanner Scheppers will start the season opener. Scheppers will be making his first big league start after 115 relief appearances.

Big payday for Marte

The Pittsburgh Pirates plan on keeping promising left fielder Starling Marte playing alongside National League MVP Andrew McCutchen for years to come.

A person with knowledge of the agreement says the Pirates and Marte have agreed to a six-year contract that will keep the 25-year-old in Pittsburgh for remainder of the decade. The person requested anonymity because the deal had not been publicly announced.

CBSSports.com reported the new contract has a total value of $31 million.

Marte hit .280 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI and a team-high 41 steals during his first full season in the majors in 2013. Marte was scheduled to make $516,000 this season. The new deal takes him through 2019.

New drug agreement near

Baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement this week that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and allow a decrease of suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use, people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

For future suspensions, the deal also would eliminate the loophole allowing Alex Rodriguez to earn almost $3 million during his season-long ban, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity in recent days because talks are ongoing.

The sides hope to reach an agreement by Sunday, when the Los Angeles Dodgers open the U.S. portion of the major-league schedule at the San Diego Padres.

While the lengths have not been finalized, a person involved with the talks said Wednesday the most likely penalties would be about 80 games for an initial testing violation and a season-long ban for a second.



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