Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw likely bound for rehab assignment after pitching in simulated game
Clayton Kershaw completed two simulated innings Tuesday afternoon at Dodger Stadium, but team officials indicated the Dodgers ace will likely require a minor-league rehabilitation start before he can be activated from the disabled list.
“My guess is that Kersh will want to pitch in a major league game tomorrow,” Andrew Friedman, the team’s president of baseball operations, said before Tuesday’s rainout at Coors Field, which created a doubleheader on Wednesday. “With the time he’s missed, my guess would be the next step would be a minor league assignment. I think it will take a little bit of time to build him up in a way for him to be strong through September and hopefully October, as well.”
Kershaw has not pitched for the team since June 26 because of a herniated disk in his lower back. The Dodgers hope he will require only one rehab outing.
Kershaw was one of four pitchers on the disabled list to pitch in the simulated game against hitters from Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Brett Anderson (blister on left index finger) completed four innings. Brandon McCarthy (hip stiffness) and Scott Kazmir (neck stiffness) each logged five innings.
“It was a full day at Dodger Stadium,” Manager Dave Roberts said.
Roberts indicated Kazmir is the closest to rejoining the Dodgers. Anderson and McCarthy may require minor -league outings.
Kazmir (10-6, 4.59 earned-run average) acquiesced to a stint on the disabled list last week after a pair of shaky outings in Philadelphia and Cincinnati. He had been dealing with lingering stiffness in his neck and upper back for much of the season, which prevented him from maintaining his mechanics when delivering the baseball.
For much of the summer, Kazmir said earlier this month, he resisted the idea of getting further examination. The team is hopeful he can use the two weeks of rest to return to form. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sept. 7.
“We’ll talk to Scott and see where he’s at,” Roberts said.
Both Friedman and Roberts indicated the team would make a further evaluation of Kershaw on Wednesday. In July, he attempted to rush back to join the team after receiving an epidural for his back. He threw a simulated game, but felt discomfort afterward.
The Dodgers hope to avoid a repeat of that situation.
“It was a great step in his progression,” Friedman said of Tuesday’s activity. “He felt great after, which is obviously everything that we cared about. As we knew he would, he said he wasn’t as sharp as he would want to be, but he’s always going to say that. The most important thing is he felt great.”
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