Concern swept through the Los Angeles Dodgers organization on July 23 when Clayton Kershaw was removed from his start after just two innings. The Dodgers said it was due to lower back tightness, an MRI followed and Kershaw was officially diagnosed with a lower back strain.
That it was not an issue with the herniated disc that forced the three-time Cy Young Award winner to miss 10 weeks last season was a relief. Nonetheless, the Dodgers were facing the prospect of being without their ace for several weeks.
Kershaw has diligently worked toward returning from the back injury, all the while the Dodgers medical staff does their best to remain cautious with their handling of the recovery process.
After multiple days of throwing off flat ground, Kershaw is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session since the injury on Friday at Dodger Stadium, according to Pedro Moura of the L.A. Times:
Clayton Kershaw’s first bullpen session since his July 23 back injury is scheduled for Friday at Dodger Stadium.
Kershaw nor the Dodgers have publicly revealed a timetable for his return. They operated in the same manner last season. Kershaw went so far as to refute a report that indicated he would be sidelined four to six weeks.
Assuming Kershaw manages to complete the bullpen session without issue, he would advance to a simulated game. If all continues to go well, a rehab assignment would likely follow. The steps would be identical to what Kershaw completed last season prior to returning in September.
His hope this year is to make a handful of starts in preparation for the postseason. Including his injury-shortened outing, the Dodgers are 13-2 without Kershaw.