Clayton Kershaw’s strikeout total carries added weight tonight.

Tonight is the final game in the two-month program where Muscle Milk will donate $100 for every strikeout Clayton Kershaw throws to his Kershaw’s Challenge Foundation.  He currently sits at 70 and is on the mound tonight in Colorado.

Kershaw himself agreed to donate $500 per strikeout as part of his #PITCHING4PURPOSE social media campaign.

Daily Distractions: No international draft as MLB chooses to preserve the status quo.

Major League Baseball has decided against holding an international draft in 2014.

The league issued a statement earlier today:

“The Office of the Commissioner and the Players Association have discussed various issues regarding international amateur players, including the possibility of an international draft. While both parties discussed an international draft, an agreement was not reached on some of the mechanics and procedures related to such a draft. Thus, an international draft will not be implemented in 2014. The parties intend to continue to discuss international amateur talent issues, and the current system of international talent acquisition as described in the Collective Bargaining Agreement will remain in place at this time.”

MLBPA Executive Director Michael Weiner issued the following statement: “At this time, the players are not prepared to accept an international draft. The MLBPA will continue to discuss with players and the Commissioner’s Office the many issues facing its international members.”

The Sports Business Journal reported as recently as 12 days ago that a single draft for eligible baseball players at home and abroad, as well as separate drafts for domestic and international players, were being considered by the league and the Players’ Association.

It’s unclear how or if the lawsuit reportedly brought by Adrian Gonzalez’s father, David, against MLB complicated negotiations.

What does it all mean?

The amateur draft will proceed as planned June 6-8. Teams can sign international players freely but face penalties for exceeding annual spending limits, between $1.15 and $4.25 million, that are tied to their winning percentage last season. Baseball essentially chose to preserve the status quo, warts and all (among them, the “circus”-like tryouts across Central and Latin America come to mind.)

Some bullet points to tide you through the weekend:
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Dodgers can add another outfielder to their list of injury concerns.

On the same day that Matt Kemp went on the 15-day disabled list with a sore back, Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford made an amazing sliding catch in foul territory in the second inning against the Angels. He did not emerge healthy.

Crawford said he merely scraped his right wrist, which appeared to be causing him some pain just after the play. After the game, the greater concern was his back.

“There’s a little soreness,” Crawford said. “I’ll probably feel it on the plane, something like that.”

On another day the injury might not warrant mention. On Thursday, the Dodgers were without their starting center fielder, Kemp, and were preparing to board a plane to Denver for a weekend series against the Colorado Rockies.

Crawford admitted that playing out the rest of the game was a struggle.

“I know we’re kind of short on guys so I tried to fight through it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you try to grind it out.”

Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett scheduled to visit with nerve specialist.

Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett will visit Monday with Dr. Greg Pearl, a nerve specialist based in Dallas, Texas. Beckett has been dealing with tingling and numbness in his right hand, along with a strained groin that landed him on the disabled list May 14.

Beckett had an MRI performed Wednesday, but further tests are needed to determine the source of the injury.

Pearl consulted with St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter last year when Carpenter was dealing with thoracic outlet syndrome in his right arm. Carpenter ultimately had surgery on the arm and is trying to come back this year. It has not been determined that Beckett has the same condition.

 

With Matt Kemp on the disabled list, Dodgers will recall a ‘true center fielder’ soon.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp leaves the field with athletic trainer Nancy Pattersonon Wednesday night after straining his right hamstring in a 4-3 loss to the Angels (Associated Press)

Of all the frustrations Matt Kemp has had to deal with this season, a trip to the disabled list was not among them — until Thursday.

Kemp is optimistic he can return once his 15 days are up, which projects to June 14 at Pittsburgh, after straining his right hamstring Wednesday night in Anaheim.

“It’s disappointing,” he said. “I love playing baseball. I hate being hurt. This is my second year of being hurt.

“This is a small little obstacle but I’m used to playing 162 games and playing every day.”

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Dodgers to hold Sports Networking Fair next Monday.

The Dodgers will hold their first annual Sports Networking Fair on Monday, June 3, before that night’s 7:10 p.m. game against the San Diego Padres on the Loge Terrace.

Attendees can learn about internships, full-time and part-time positions with some of Southern California’s elite sports organizations, including the Galaxy, Padres and Angels, among others in attendance.

The event will be held from 5:10 p.m.-7:10 p.m. Tickets for the event, which include a preferred Loge Box ticket to the Dodger game, are available for $18 at www.dodgers.com/network.

Daily Distractions: Will Matt Kemp’s MRI results determine the Dodgers’ future?

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp leaves the field with athletic trainer Nancy Pattersonon Wednesday night after straining his right hamstring in a 4-3 loss to the Angels (Associated Press)

Matt Kemp will have an MRI on his aching right hamstring today, which could be the biggest news the Dodgers receive all month.

Or not.

The Dodgers are averaging more than four runs a game the past week, despite benching Kemp once, then dropping him to fifth in the batting order, and watching him go 3 for 21 (.143) while he was in the lineup. The Dodgers were able to tread water for about a month while Kemp recuperated from his hamstring strains in May and June of last year. It wasn’t until mid-June that the Dodgers went into a tailspin — and that was with a lineup featuring Dee Gordon, Tony Gwynn Jr., Elian Herrera and Bobby Abreu among others on a nightly basis. With Hanley Ramirez due to return soon, there’s reason for optimism even if Kemp does need time on the DL.

He probably won’t need much time, if any.

“It’s not as bad as last year, but when you feel it grabbing you got to take it easy and make sure you take care of it cause it can get worse,” Kemp told colleague Clay Fowler after the Dodgers’ 4-3 loss to the Angels on Wednesday. “Probably about two years ago, I probably would have stayed in the game.”

Some more bullet points for a Canary Islands Day:

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With Ramirez returning, too little too late for Cruz to remain with Dodgers?

Luis Cruz and Don Mattingly were using the same term, but referencing entirely different things.

In every sense of the word, the Dodgers infielder’s timing was right on Tuesday.

With his days on the parent club’s roster seemingly numbered as Hanley Ramirez works his way back from a hamstring injury, Cruz produced his first extra-base hit of the season when he needed it most. The timing of the 29-year-old’s two-run home run in the fifth inning of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over the Angels couldn’t have been better, according to Mattingly.

The Dodgers manager was grateful it gave his team a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. Cruz was happy the timing of his plant foot and his swing were properly coordinated, something that has been plaguing him during a season-long slump during which his batting average has ranged from .087 to .115.

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Daily Distractions: Hanley Ramirez announces another rehab assignment on Twitter.

Hanley Ramirez

Hanley Ramirez will be in a Rancho Cucamonga Quakes uniform again Thursday (Photo courtesy of MILB.com)

To be fair, Hanley Ramirez warned us.

“I think it’s soon. I’m going to tweet it for my fans,” Ramirez said five days ago, asked when and where his rehabilitation assignment would begin.

“You can just tell us,” I replied.

“No,” he said.

So here was the “official” word Wednesday morning:

The Rancho Cucamonga Quakes play the Bakersfield Blaze Thursday through Sunday before returning home Monday.

Ramirez has played four major-league games since Opening Day, the last coming May 3. His assignment with the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate is good news, however it’s delivered, and it means Ramirez could be back with the Dodgers next week if his hamstring holds up.

Some bullet points for a Nigerian Democracy Day:

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