Clayton Kershaw throws, Dodgers hope for a September return
Clayton Kershaw throwing a baseball at Dodger Stadium is typically an uplifting experience for the home team, and so it was again Sunday even though he had nothing to do with a game
Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw, sidelined since late June by a back injury, threw for the first time since a July 16 simulated game was followed by a setback.
Roberts didn’t have specifics of Kershaw’s stint, but took encouragement about the fact the Dodgers’ ace has taken a big step toward a return to the rotation.
“I haven’t heard how he came out of it. I’m sure there was some soreness, but it was still good to see him with a baseball in his hand,” Roberts said.
After being plagued by lower-back discomfort from a herniated disk, Kershaw (11-2, 1.79 earned-run average) was sent to the 60-day disabled list.
He’s sorely needed for the stretch as the Dodgers started Sunday two games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants.
“Clayton’s not a guy we worry about with the intensity, the intent to get back,” Roberts said. “He’ll be back as soon as he possibly can.”
The hope, said Roberts, is for Kershaw to return in September, taking over starts from fill-ins like Saturday spot starter Ross Stripling and Monday’s starter, Julio Urias (1-2, 4.98 ERA with nine starts).
“All along — a little bit of it was being hopeful — we’ve expected him to make strides for us [returning] in September,” Roberts said. “We’re focused on the guys who are active … but any time he can get back, we’ll take Clayton.
“There’s not going to be a [minor league] rehab situation [available]. It’s going to be bullpens and live [batting practices] kind of thing, and whenever he feels he’s ready to go, we’re going to pencil him in and get him going.”
Back on the hill
Newly acquired starting pitcher Rich Hill (finger blister) said he’ll throw a bullpen session Tuesday and expects to start Friday’s home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, which Roberts confirmed.
“He could’ve made the start [Saturday], he wanted to make the start, but to error on the side of caution, we thought it was best to go with Ross … hopefully Friday works,” Roberts said.
The Dodgers summoned veteran minor leaguer Rob Segedin from triple-A Oklahoma City, sending infielder Chris Taylor down and transferring injured outfielder Trayce Thompson (lower back) to the 60-day DL.
“It’s exciting for Rob to make his debut against the [Boston] Red Sox at Dodger Stadium. He earned it,” Roberts said. “To get back in and get rewarded is a great story. Rob gives us that versatility, some flexibility. Right-handed bat off the bench, can play either corner position. Can play first, third. He’s shown he can handle left-handed pitching with production and [slugging]. Give him a look, see how it fares.”
Roberts spoke to Taylor (.229, one home run, seven RBIs in 24 games) before his exit and said he’s likely to be recalled for September.
“I told him today he’s part of the solution. He does a lot of things to help a team. Right now, where we’re at, it makes sense to have Rob, but I expect [Taylor] to be back,” Roberts said.
Segedin moved into the locker previously saved for injured reliever Yimi Garcia (biceps), whom Roberts said is not expected to pitch for the team again this season.
“There was a setback about a week ago,” Roberts said. “[Surgery], we haven’t determined yet, but … his right arm, the calendar is working against him.”
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