Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Asserts He’s Long Been Healthy Enough For Return
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

For a second consecutive year Clayton Kershaw has had his season interrupted due to a back injury. Whereas he suffered a mild herniated disc in 2016, this season’s trouble was much more mild — a lower back strain.

Nonetheless, the Los Angeles Dodgers vowed to err on the side of caution. That stance and approach was all the easier to implement, because of a commanding lead in the National League West standings.

The Dodgers have gone 19-5 without their ace, who’s scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City as a final hurdle to coming off the disabled list. While necessary in the Dodgers’ eyes, Kershaw proclaimed he’s been capable of returning for over one week, according to Ken Gurnick of

“Health-wise, I could have pitched in the big leagues 10 days ago. But that’s not the plan, obviously,” Kershaw said. “I don’t feel I missed much time. I kept throwing all the way through. I guess it’s the luxury we have as a team.”

The simulated game Kershaw threw Monday at PNC Park was his second since being placed on the disabled list July 24. He was initially scheduled to complete three innings, but went four.

While attempting his comeback last season, the process of sitting between innings proved troublesome for Kershaw’s back. He hasn’t encountered the same stiffness in either of this year’s simulated games.

Assuming Kershaw gets through his rehab start without issue, it would leave him on track to rejoin the Dodgers Thursday, Aug. 31, or Friday, Sept. 1. The Dodgers face the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, respectively, those dates.

Next Friday may be more likely, considering it would grant the three-time Cy Young Award winner an extra day of rest and provide the Dodgers with flexibility with that being the first date active rosters expand.

Regardless of which possible date next week that he returns, Kershaw will have missed just under six weeks. He spent 10 weeks on the disabled list last season.