The Los Angeles Dodgers begin the unofficial second half of the 2016 season on Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in what’s the start of a nine-game road trip. They’ll do so still without the services of Clayton Kershaw.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts previously set his post-All-Star break starting rotation that doesn’t include the three-time Cy Young Award winner as he continues to recover from a mild disc herniation. Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 1, with the stint retroactive to June 27.
He received an epidural injection and began a five-step rehabilitation program that was set by back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.
Kershaw was cleared to play catch and soon after advanced to throw a bullpen session, which put his recovery ahead of schedule. Granted, the Dodgers have yet to publicly release a timetable for Kershaw’s return.
After completing another bullpen session, Kershaw is next expected to face live hitters, per Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
That session lasted “upwards around 60 pitches,” according to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, and Kershaw will follow it up by throwing to hitters in a simulated-game setting on Saturday in Los Angeles.
While Kershaw and the Dodgers have avoided making a timeline public, the left-handed ace explained the reasoning behind that decision is to avoid further questioning over potentially rushing a return or it being viewed as delayed.
Assuming all continues to go well, it’s plausible Kershaw could be reinstated from the DL once the Dodgers begin a second turn through their rotation, or soon after their road trip concludes.