Monday marks exactly three weeks since the Los Angeles Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain. A timetable for his recovery has been made public, but the left-handed ace continues to progress toward a return to the Dodgers rotation.
Kershaw completed a second bullpen session, increasing his workload Sunday to 50 pitches. “The execution was good,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Obviously, Clayton probably would want better. I think to come out of it feeling good, feeling strong, is a win for us.”
Next for the 29-year-old is a two-inning simulated game on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. Roberts estimated Kershaw will throw upwards of 35 pitches. The break between innings figures to be a substantial hurdle for Kershaw.
It was an impediment last season in his attempt to return from a mild herniated disc. At last check, Roberts proclaimed the three-time Cy Young Award winner was recovering ahead of schedule. That came prior to Kershaw beginning to throw off a mound.
Even with the smooth recovery, the Dodgers are hardly forcing matters. “I think we’ve been pretty cautious, which is most important,” Roberts said. “We’re in a good place with Clayton. So hopefully this next marker we pass and we can assess going forward.”
Should Kershaw get through the simulated game without issue, the next step would be a rehab assignment. That may last all of one start, which would put Kershaw on track to be reinstated prior to month’s end.
Including the game Kershaw was forced to exit with his back injury, the Dodgers are 17-3 without their ace. Los Angeles went 35-23 during the 10 weeks Kershaw spent on the disabled list last season, overtaking the San Francisco Giants in the National League West standings in the process.