Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett nominated for ESPY awards.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been nominated for Best Baseball Player, and Josh Beckett is a finalist for Best Comeback Athlete, as voting for the ESPY awards began Tuesday.

Kershaw won the National League Cy Young Award in 2013 and last week threw the first no-hitter of his career. Beckett missed most of last season with thoracic outlet syndrome, then came back this year to pitch a no-hitter of his own.

The ESPY awards will air July 16 on ESPN, during the MLB All-Star break. Drake is hosting the annual made-for-TV awards show at the Nokia Theater.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wasn’t nominated in the Best Fighter category.

Don  Mattingly Alan  Trammell

(Getty Images)

Chad Billingsley’s season is in jeopardy after MRI reveals torn flexor tendon in right elbow.

Chad Billingsley

Chad Billingsley made two rehab starts for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga this season and didn’t make it out of the second inning in either appearance. (Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Twitter)

Chad Billingsley‘s season is in jeopardy after an MRI scan Thursday revealed a partial tear of the flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Though surgery is commonly performed, Billingsley is planning to discuss his options with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache in the coming days before deciding on a course of action.

The prognosis for recovery from torn flexor tendon surgery varies greatly.
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A.J. Ellis sprains ankle celebrating Josh Beckett’s no-hitter, goes on 15-day disabled list.

A.J. Ellis sprained ankle

A.J. Ellis (second from right) said he sprained his right ankle immediately after this photo was taken, when he landed on Drew Butera’s catcher’s mask on the turf in Philadelphia. (Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)


A.J. Ellis spoke in somber tones Monday as he described one of baseball’s all-time freak injuries. An old adage was certainly at play: It’s only funny if it doesn’t happen to you.

Ellis sprained his ankle Sunday while the Dodgers ran out to congratulate Josh Beckett for his no-hitter at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Ellis didn’t catch the game — Drew Butera did — but Ellis leaped and landed on Butera’s discarded catcher’s mask in the midst of the celebration.

“I knew right away it was more significant than other ankle rolls I’ve had in the past,” Ellis said. “I immediately came in, saw (Dodgers head athletic trainer) Stan Conte, got an x-ray which came back negative, treated it the entire flight home yesterday, and came in this morning.

“I woke up and called Stan this morning I didn’t think I would be able to play the next few days just because of the way I felt. Probably best for the club to get another catcher up here. So I’m beyond frustrated, still kind of shocked and just ready to get back in the rhythm of things, whenever that might be.”

The Dodgers recalled Tim Federowicz from Triple-A Albuquerque with Ellis on the 15-day disabled list. Ellis was scheduled to meet with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache to determine the severity of the injury and a timetable for recovery.
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Josh Beckett no-hits the Philadelphia Phillies.

Josh Beckett threw the first no-hitter of his career in the Dodgers’ 6-0 win in Philadelphia. The 34-year-old right-hander threw 128 pitches — a career high — walked three batters and struck out six.

The last Dodgers pitcher to throw a no-hitter was Hideo Nomo in September 1996. Beckett became the 21st Dodger to throw a no-hitter and the 11th since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.

With two outs in the ninth inning, Beckett walked Jimmy Rollins and fell behind Chase Utley 3-1. He came back to strike out Utley to seal the victory with two called strikes, sending the Dodgers pouring out of the dugout to celebrate.

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Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis takes batting practice, but return from the disabled list is on hold.

Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis returned to Los Angeles on Tuesday. He took batting practice in the afternoon along with Juan Uribe, separate from the rest of the club.

Though he looked healthy, the Dodgers will wait at least a day before activating the catcher from the 15-day disabled list.

“We feel like today tells us if he feels good, he bounces back after catching two days,” Mattingly said. “He feels like he’s ready to play. Medical feels like he’s ready to play. It’s soon.”

Drew Butera is catching Josh Beckett and Miguel Olivo is serving as the backup.

Daily Distractions: A scout’s take on Erisbel Arruebarrena.

Erisbel Arruebarrena

Infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena is batting .136 for the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate.

Erisbel Arruebarrena provided a nice distraction during spring training. Reporters covering the Dodgers spent countless minutes rolling our “R”s, trying to pronounce Arruebarrena, figuring out how many “U”s were in the name, and mostly waiting for the 24-year-old shortstop to arrive in the U.S.

When he finally did get his visa and arrive in spring training on March 13, the Cuban shortstop was shuffled to the Dodgers’ minor-league camp. Then the major-leaguers left for Australia. Hardly anyone got to see the kid play baseball.

Nearly two months later there he is, taking up a space on the 40-man roster and $25 million of the Dodgers’ payroll over the next five years. Ever since Arruebarrena reported to Double-A Chattanooga, he’s proceeded to bat .136/.188/.220, which hardly seems to justify a $25 million contract. Was this signing a mistake? Was rolling my “R”s one big time-killerrrrrr?

A pro scout who recently watched Arruebarrena in the Southern League chimed in with this report.

I’d say Erisbel’s current offensive numbers are an accurate representation of his abilities – he has a long/loopy swing, almost like a golf swing that struggles to make contact with any type of pitch. He has serious recognition problems vs. AA-effective secondary stuff, turning his back early & often vs. almost all curveballs/sliders. Those things combined lead to rare contact on mistake fastballs only, or if a pitcher makes a bad decision to throw him the same loopy curveball three times in a row.

That said, him at SS is sometimes awesome to watch; way above instincts, really easy/super-quick receive-and-throw actions deep in the hole or going up the middle with a really good feel to complete very tough plays. He did flash a couple mental errors, like dropping a popup or ball bouncing off his glove with the infield in. Even with the bat how it is now I’d like to have him in my organization, because his floor is first-division middle infield-utility. As he gets comfortable over the next couple seasons in the US I think his feel/baseball IQ will improve a bit/less mental errors on both sides. I see him as a mid-.500s OPS guy but with major league top-5 shortstop defense.

Make of that what you will. It’s the most up-to-date scouting report we have on a player we know little about, perhaps the least known member of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.

Some bullet points for a Europe Day:
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Josh Beckett on track to make his 2014 debut Wednesday; Hyun-Jin Ryu to start Friday.

Josh Beckett is on the disabled list, but he looked anything but disabled Tuesday afternoon.

That’s Beckett, in the middle of the screen, covering first base on a simulated ground ball. In baseball terms, it was a routine pitcher’s fielding practice — “PFP drills” as they’re known. It was one of the last hurdles Beckett needed to clear before he could be cleared to make his 2014 debut on Wednesday.

“We haven’t announced it but he looks like the guy,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously he’s still on the DL at this point. He did PFPs today. Everything went well. He looks like he’s ready to roll unless he does something tonight to his ankle.”

If Beckett starts tomorrow against the Detroit Tigers, it will be his first major-league start since May 13 of last year. The thoracic outlet syndrome that ended his 2013 season hasn’t been an issue since he reported to spring training.

Beckett dealt with a number of minor injuries after that — a thumb contusion in March, then an ankle/calf problem in his only rehabilitation start Friday.

“I had some swelling in my ankle. My calf was barking a little bit too,” Beckett said Sunday. “We kind of ruled that out. The calf got better with some treatment yesterday, some ice last night. … The ankle feels perfect.”

Hyun-Jin Ryu is locked in to start Friday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks after an off-day Thursday, Mattingly said.

If Beckett can’t pitch tomorrow for some reason?

“We’ll use our guys accordingly,” Mattingly said. “It depends on what happens tonight.”

Dodgers’ Josh Beckett throws bullpen session, on track to make his 2014 debut Wednesday.

Josh Beckett

Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett threw a bullpen session Sunday. (Associated Press photo)

Josh Beckett is on track to make his 2014 debut Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers after throwing a normal bullpen session Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

The veteran right-hander has been on the 15-day disabled list with a right thumb contusion since the season began. He suffered the injury in spring training when the clubhouse door swung open and hit his thumb.

The thumb wasn’t an issue when Beckett threw four-plus innings in a minor-league rehab start Friday for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, but he aggravated something in his right calf/ankle area.

On Sunday, Beckett threw for about 15 minutes with head athletic trainer Stan Conte watching.

“It was better than yesterday,” he said.

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San Diego Padres announce starting assignments for Dodgers’ first series in North America.

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black told reporters in Peoria, Arizona on Saturday that Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross will start in that order against the Dodgers for their season-opening series against the Dodgers at Petco Park.

Cashner will start Opening Day on Sunday, March 30, a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kennedy takes the ball on Tuesday, April 1 and Ross on Wednesday, April 2.

Also Saturday, the Padres learned that starter Josh Johnson will miss at least four weeks with a strained flexor muscle. Johnson wasn’t expected to start in the first series against the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said yesterday that Zack Greinke and Dan Haren will start two of the three Freeway Series games against the Angels, March 27-29. That rules both pitchers out for the March 30 and April 1 starts in San Diego. Expect Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu to get those assignments, with Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm serving as outside possibilities.

Josh Beckett thrives, Matt Kemp struggles, in Dodgers’ latest minor-league spring training game.

Josh Beckett

Josh Beckett threw three shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on March 15 before leaving with a right thumb contusion. (Associated Press photo)

Josh Beckett threw four mostly successful innings against the Cincinnati Reds’ Triple-A club at Camelback Ranch on Thursday. It was his first appearance since being pulled from a Cactus League start against the Chicago Cubs on March 15 with a contusion on his right thumb.

The right-hander allowed six hits and one earned run, walked one and struck out four. He threw 52 pitches, 39 for strikes. Beckett was said to have used his curveball well, a pitch that gave him trouble in his last start because of the thumb injury.

Playing in the same game, Matt Kemp continued his struggles at the plate as he returns from off-season ankle surgery. Kemp went 0-for-5 with 3 strikeouts. Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford was 3-for-3 with a home run and two hard singles to left field. He played five innings in left field and was caught stealing.

Brandon League pitched in a Double-A game at home against Cincinnati and allowed one home run in 1 ⅓ innings. League threw 18 pitches, 12 for strikes, walked none and struck out none.