The Dodgers have added another checkpoint for Clayton Kershaw to clear on his return from the 10-day disabled list. Kershaw will pitch in a minor league rehabilitation game on Saturday for triple-A Oklahoma City, rather than start in New York against the Mets.
Kershaw is expected to make a four-inning, 60-pitch appearance. If he completes the assignment without incident, the team will activate him next week, manager Dave Roberts indicated.
“It’s just [giving] him the best chance for success and health,” Roberts said before the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Wrigley Field. “You consider all the factors. Get a lot of thoughts and opinions from people more qualified than I am, and you make a decision.”
The process led to Kershaw pitching on Saturday in Omaha against the Storm Chasers, Kansas City’s triple-A affiliate. He faced the same organization in his lone rehab outing as he returned from a back injury last summer.
Kershaw has pitched only once since May 1. He missed a month with biceps tendinitis before suffering a recurrence of a strained muscle in his lower back on May 31. Kershaw missed five weeks with a similar injury last season.
Kershaw completed a three-inning simulated game on Monday. He had hoped to pitch in the major leagues as his next step.
“He stated his case,” Roberts said. “He made his case. As he always does. Which is great. Which is what you expect.”
SHORT HOPS: As the Dodgers activated Rich Hill from the disabled list, the team optioned utilityman Breyvic Valera to Oklahoma City. Valera has hit .172 in 20 games for the Dodgers. … The team did not activate Chase Utley (left thumb sprain) during the doubleheader. Roberts indicated the team would bring Utley off the disabled list on either Tuesday or Wednesday. … The Dodgers called up Brock Stewart from Oklahoma City to be the 26th man for Tuesday’s second game.