Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw cleared to play catch; timetable for return still not public

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)

Clayton Kershaw wore a smile as he hustled into the dugout of Dodger Stadium on Wednesday morning. He had just completed what was his first game of catch — “as far as you know,” he said, with a grin — since he received an epidural injection for the herniated disk in his back on June 29.

The Dodgers have not revealed a timetable for Kershaw’s return, and are not expected to do so as he convalesces from his injury. But Manager Dave Roberts indicated the team had cleared him to throw a baseball ahead of schedule.

“This is a little early,” Roberts said before Wednesday’s series finale against the Baltimore Orioles. “We’re pleasantly surprised. This is good.”

For Kershaw, a long road lies between playing catch and facing major league hitters. But Kershaw has impressed the medical staff with his recuperation since the injection.

“He says his body feels considerably better, his back,” Roberts said. “So hopefully we continue to move in that direction.”


Roberts does not feel Kershaw will require a minor league rehabilitation assignment. That could change as Kershaw approaches a return.

Kershaw has made clear his intention to hurry back from the disabled list. The Dodgers must make sure his pace is measured, Roberts said.

“We’ve got to keep a close eye on him,” Roberts said. “Because he’s going to want to push it as much as he can.”

Short hops

Roberts hopes outfielder Andre Ethier (broken leg) could rejoin the team by the beginning of August. Ethier has not yet been cleared to take batting practice, but Roberts felt Ethier could improve enough to start playing games on a minor league rehabilitation assignment in the next two to three weeks. … The Dodgers hope Brett Anderson (back surgery) will be back by the middle of August. Anderson has begun throwing bullpens after undergoing his operation in March. … Corey Seager said he plans to take part in the home run derby on Monday at the All-Star game.