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Dodgers still lack timetable for ace Clayton Kershaw’s return

Clayton Kershaw has not pitched for the Dodgers since June 26 because of a herniated disk in his lower back and the club doesn't have a timetable for his return.
(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Saturday marked the 14th day since Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw last picked up a baseball. As he continues his recuperation from a herniated disk in his lower back, Manager Dave Roberts maintained the organization’s stance that there is no timetable for Kershaw’s return.

“I think it is on the horizon,” Roberts said before Saturday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. “But I just don’t know how close. Obviously, the sooner the better. But with Clayton, we don’t need to worry about the effort and the focus. When it happens, we’ll find out. But there is no timeline for us.”

Kershaw has been limited to exercises designed to strengthen his back and his abdominal core muscles, Roberts said. That has not changed in the two weeks since he experienced a setback after a simulated game at Dodger Stadium.

Kershaw logged four innings on July 16, which loomed as the last tuneup before rejoining the big league club. He had not pitched for the team since June 26, and he received an epidural for his back a few days later. Kershaw experienced soreness after his simulated game, which prompted the team to shut down his throwing program.

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The Dodgers continue to express the hope that Kershaw will both avoid surgery and pitch again for the team this season. But the details for his return remain scant.

Decision coming soon on Enrique Hernandez

Sidelined since late June because of rib-cage inflammation, Dodgers utility man Enrique Hernandez has spent the last week playing games on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Roberts said the Dodgers will decide whether to activate Hernandez “in the next couple days.”

Hernandez is healthy, Roberts said. But he may not automatically earn a spot on the big league roster. The team could elect to option Hernandez to the minors. Hernandez has hit .189 this season, and been mostly ineffective against left-handed pitchers.

The Dodgers have appreciated the infield versatility of rookie Chris Taylor, and remain intrigued by the potential of rookie outfielder Andrew Toles.

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

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