Dave Roberts: Dodgers Have ‘Ample Time’ To Build Up Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers methodically navigated Clayton Kershaw along a throwing program that culminated this week with making a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

It marked the first official game for Kershaw since he was placed on the 10-day injured list July 7 due to left forearm inflammation. An MRI didn’t reveal any structural damage, but the 33-year-old continued to deal with lingering elbow soreness.

There was some talk that Kershaw could move to the bullpen if his rehab didn’t go as planned, but it appears that scenario is behind them.

“I think if you look at the potential, and it’s contingent on how he feels after every start, but there’s a potential for four or five starts before the end of the season, so there’s ample time to get him right,” Dodgers manager Roberts said.

“We’ve just got to be smart. The main thing is to keep him healthy through October.”

Kershaw still has some work to do before he rejoins the team, but his rehab assignment was encouraging sign that the three-time Cy Young winner can make an impact down the stretch.

“Velocity, I think there will be a little bit of an uptick in a Major League game. The secondary stuff was pretty good,” Roberts said. “I think the command just wasn’t where he wanted it to be, but that’s to be expected.

“I think the main thing is we got him up to 49 pitches through three (innings) and he feels good. You look out at the ‘pen and next start, four and 60 seems very feasible.”

Getting Kershaw, Gonsolin healthy

Between Kershaw being set to come off the IL and Tony Gonsloin having returned this week, the Dodgers are getting healthy at the right time and both pitchers should fill important roles.

“It’s going to be a huge boost,” Roberts said. “I think you’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys that have backfilled, the coaches, the catchers everything.

“We’ve done a great job of preventing runs, but when you get Tony and Clayton back, guys who were projected to be big parts of our pitching staff, it’s going to be a huge lift.”

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