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Deal between Clayton Kershaw and Dodgers is not imminent

Pitcher's agent is at Dodger Stadium but the sides don't appear to be about to agree on a new contract.

April 02, 2013|By Dylan Hernandez

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Clayton Kershaw's agent was at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, but a new deal between the Dodgers and their ace didn't appear imminent, according to people familiar with the situation who weren't authorized to speak on the matter.

Kershaw's representatives were known to be discussing a contract extension with the Dodgers in the days leading up to opening day.

Kershaw said in spring training that he didn't want negotiations to carry into the regular season. After his spectacular performance in the Dodgers' season-opening victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday, Kershaw wouldn't say if that was still the case.

Kershaw's agent, Casey Close, was also at Dodger Stadium on Monday. Close met Tuesday with another of his clients, Zack Greinke.

The market for high-end starters is as healthy as it has ever been, judging by the deals recently signed by Greinke (six years, $147 million), Felix Hernandez (seven years, $175 million) and Justin Verlander (seven years, $180 million).

Kershaw is under contract for $11 million and will be eligible for salary arbitration in 2014. He can become a free agent after the 2014 season.

Chad Billingsley is being patient

Avoiding an elbow operation that could have wiped out his entire season, right-hander Chad Billingsley is disappointed his 2013 debut will be delayed because of a bruised finger.

"It is frustrating," he said. "But at least it's not the elbow. It's not serious. My arm strength's built up. It's just that I have to make another tune-up start and get a little bit better feel for the curveball to get ready for 30-plus starts and 200 innings."

Billingsley sat out the final month of last season because of a partially torn elbow ligament and was a surgical candidate. He opted for rehabilitation over surgery and now says his elbow feels normal. However, a finger he bruised in a bunting drill forced him to start the season on the disabled list.

Billingsley said he was fine with the decision, saying his curveball hasn't been particularly sharp in recent throwing sessions.

"The curveball is my out-pitch, my go-to with two strikes," he said. "You want to have your best feel for that pitch in the regular season."

Billingsley is set to pitch Thursday in the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes' season opener as part of a minor league rehabilitation assignment. If he emerges from that start without any problems, he would pitch April 10 in San Diego.

Carl Crawford rests

Carl Crawford was out of the lineup Tuesday night for the Dodgers' second game of the regular season.

But it wasn't because left-hander Madison Bumgarner started for the San Francisco Giants or because there was anything wrong with Crawford's surgically repaired elbow.

"We wanted to make sure we were able to wean him in the first couple series," Manager Don Mattingly said.

Crawford was two for four with a double and a run scored in the Dodgers' season-opening victory over the Giants on Monday.

Jerry Hairston Jr. started in left field in place of the former All-Star. Crawford will return to the lineup Wednesday. The Dodgers have a day off Thursday.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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