Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Makes Early Progress In Recovery From Back Injury
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

What’s a certainty at this juncture is the Los Angeles Dodgers will be without Clayton Kershaw at least through the All-Star break and surgery isn’t necessary to treat his minor disc herniation. What remains unknown is how long the left-handed ace will remain sidelined.

Manager Dave Roberts reiterated on Friday that a timeline for Kershaw’s recovery has not yet been set. There is, however, already some improvement in the troublesome back. “Rick (Honeycutt, Dodgers pitching coach) and the training staff talked to him,” Roberts said.

“He’s feeling considerably better and he’ll be [at Dodger Stadium on Saturday]. His spirits are better, too.” This is just the second time in Kershaw’s career where injury has forced him to the disabled list.

The other came in 2014 the end of March after Kershaw made his first start of the season — in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks — because of a teres major strain (upper back); he was activated from the disabled list May 6.

Roberts took some solace in Kershaw’s latest DL stint coming near the All-Star break, which eliminates a handful of games missed. The rookie manager also expressed confidence in the Dodgers’ ability to remain focused on pressing forward.

“We understand his value and what he does for our ballclub. We still have to win baseball games regardless of who we’re missing,” Roberts said. “I don’t think we’re really fazed by it, to be honest. As a group when any player goes down, the team mindset is we have to pick up the slack. It starts with the team and individually being better.”

Bud Norris provided an immediate lift on Friday by throwing six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies and matching a season high with eight strikeouts. While Norris has replaced Kershaw in the rotation, the right-hander was not acquired under the notion he would replace Kershaw.

“Bud is not here to replace Clayton,” Roberts said after his club’s ninth shutout victory this season. “It’s one of those things where we all have to do a little bit more.”