Although the Los Angeles Dodgers received disappointing news with Walker Buehler undergoing a second Tommy John surgery in addition to a right flexor tendon repair, Clayton Kershaw has continued to recover from lower back pain that forced him to the 15-day injured list.
Just over two weeks after he was put on the IL, Kershaw threw a bullpen session and followed that with a simulated game at Dodger Stadium. He pitched three innings against Hanser Alberto, Joey Gallo and Trayce Thompson, and continued to recover well.
Kershaw threw another bullpen session Wednesday and remains scheduled to pitch a simulated game this weekend in Miami. “He’s ready to go,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. He previously indicated Kershaw would throw four innings against batters at loanDepot Park.
Assuming the left-hander comes out of that session feeling healthy, a return to the Dodgers starting rotation would likely be next. The Dodgers had considered a rehab assignment but ultimately decided Kershaw could be activated without needing to join a Minor League affiliate.
“It’s kind of all of our thoughts in the sense that it’s only been a little over two weeks,” Roberts explained. “At that point in time when he would potentially go out, it’s like two and a half weeks. So it just doesn’t make as much sense.”
Kershaw previously dealt with back injuries during the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 seasons. When returning from a one-month absence earlier this season because of right SI joint inflammation, Kershaw made one rehab start for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Dodgers likely expanding to 6-man rotation with Kershaw
Once Kershaw is activated, the Dodgers may elect to carry a six-man starting rotation for a stretch in September. While some of that is to account for Kershaw and May being part of the rotation, it also will provide pitchers with extra rest.
That’s of particular note with Tony Gonsolin, who already has set a career high in innings pitched at 128.1.
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