Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Feels Prepared For Next Step In Recovery
Recap: Trayce Thompson Has 3 Walks And 3 Stolen Bases In Dodgers Win Over Braves
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

With the Los Angeles Dodgers returning from a seven-game road trip to open a key series with the San Francisco Giants, Tuesday also marked another important date for Clayton Kershaw. He completed a second bullpen session in four days, with increased intensity and workload.

Kershaw threw roughly 40 pitches, which was is nearly double the amount he tossed during a bullpen session over the weekend at Great American Ball Park. “I got to go through some sequences and simulate facing hitters,” Kershaw said Tuesday.

“All good steps, I feel good, and I’m ready for the next step. I’m not quite sure what that is at the moment. It’ll either be another [bullpen session] or face some hitters.”

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts later said the next step for Kershaw is a 60-pitch bullpen session to be completed later this week.

Tuesday’s bullpen afforded Kershaw with the opportunity to simulate sitting in the dugout between innings. He didn’t experience any discomfort in doing so.

That was a stumbling block during Kershaw’s first attempt at a comeback, which was halted after back pain resurfaced following a bullpen session. “Sitting down and getting back up was a good test,” Kershaw said.

“That was the hard part for me before, sitting down between innings.” While the recovery process remains fluid, Kershaw believes he needs “at least” one rehab start prior to rejoining a depleted Dodgers rotation.

His optimism of pitching this season remains, but Kershaw believes another step is needed before determining whether that will be the case. “I need to face hitters to know,” he said. “I need to know with that added intensity I’ll be OK.”

As for the long layoff in-season, which the three-time Cy Young Award winner is far from accustomed to, he’s encouraged by the results from the bullpen sessions. “My arm feels good, I think the ball is coming out OK,” Kershaw said.

“I think it’s definitely time to face some hitters, whenever that is, to make sure I can still get guys out. Thankfully, I feel like I have some muscle memory built up to remember how to [pitch].”