Clayton Kershaw News: Rehab Assignment Beginning

Clayton Kershaw has not yet pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season after undergoing left shoulder surgery last year, but he is making significant progress toward a return.

Kershaw has completed multiple simulated games, including a final one at Dodger Stadium on Thursday where he went three innings. Kershaw’s fastball velocity was clocked just under 90 mph, but he began to mix in additional pitches.

After coming out of the sim game well, Kershaw is now set to begin a rehab assignment with a start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga next week.

“Clayton is going to start his rehab assignment for Rancho,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “So I think it’s six days from (Thursday), don’t quote me on exactly what day.

“But I talked to him today, he feels good. We got out of it what we wanted, and so the next progression is a rehab.”

The Quakes later announced the start will come on Wednesday.

Starting a rehab assignment places Kershaw within about a month timeline before returning to the Dodgers, as long as everything goes well.

MLB rules state a pitcher can not be on a rehab assignment for more than 30 days, and Kershaw faces a similar build up for what he’d go through in Spring Training.

The initial hope was Kershaw could return in late July or August, but he has progressed well and pushed up his timeline.

During the offseason, Kershaw re-signed on a one-year deal with a player option for the 2025 season. The total deal is worth up to $37.5 million after incentives.

During the 2023 season, he posted a 2.46 ERA, 4.03 FIP and 1.06 WHIP while striking out 26.2% of hitters and walking 7.6%.

Kershaw’s walk rate was the highest he’s posted since 2010, and his home runs allowed per nine innings of 1.30 was his highest since 2019 while dealing with reduced stuff as a result of his injury.

What can Dodgers expect from Clayton Kershaw?

When Kershaw returns, he will be inserted back into the Dodgers rotation with no chance of coming out of the bullpen. Kershaw has proven to be an effective starter, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, and will look to continue having success.

But whether he makes the postseason rotation is a different story.

As long as the health remains, the Dodgers have Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Gavin Stone locked into playoff rotation spots, with Bobby Miller also a likely option to join them.

After that, the Dodgers will likely decide the final spot between Kershaw, Walker Buehler and James Paxton.

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