When Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session at Petco Park last week he was limited to only 20 pitches and exclusively fastballs. He cleared that hurdle without suffering a setback and got back off the mound Friday at Dodger Stadium.
“It was good. It was fastballs, spun some balls, and from Mark Prior, it was successful. He’s still not ripping it 100% but it was a positive day for Clayton,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“We’ll see how he feels [Saturday] and schedule another ‘pen; my assumption would be on Monday. Kind of ramp up the intensity and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Along with adding breaking balls to his second bullpen session, Kershaw additionally threw more pitches. That progression should continue next week so long as Kershaw does not begin to experience left elbow soreness.
That became the issue following a live batting practice session last month, which has delayed his return until September. Because the Dodgers transferred Kershaw to the 60-day injured list, he is not eligible to be activated until Sunday, Sept. 5.
Kershaw hopes to make his return for the final month of the regular season in his traditional starter role but will be open to pitching out of the bullpen if the calendar runs short on stretching back out.
“I don’t want to put the staff or Clayton in any box,” Roberts said of what capacity Kershaw may come back in. “I just think for us, each day let’s improve, let’s get strong and build up the arm. Where that gets us, whenever that takes place, we’ll just kind of see what role makes the most sense.
“I do know that Clayton, first and foremost wants to be healthy, and he’s open to whatever will help the team at that point.”
Kershaw encouraged by progress
Having already experienced one setback during his prolonged recovery process, Kershaw said this past week has him more encouraged than when he initially started a throwing program coming out of the All-Star break.
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