Clayton Kershaw took the mound Thursday night on what was Opening Day for Triple-A Oklahoma City, looking to take another step forward in his recovery from inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts indicated Kershaw was expected to go four innings or 60 pitches, and potentially conclude the night with additional throwing in the bullpen. Kershaw got through four innings on 56 pitches, then retired the leadoff man in the fifth.
There were some bumps along the way, including Kershaw surrendering a home run to start the second. He also allowed an RBI single in the inning. Kershaw did bounce back to strike out the side in the third and wiped out a base hit in the fourth with a double play.
Despite a bit of an up and down outing, Kershaw was generally pleased. “Good first step,” he said. “Kind of got through everything I needed to. Got out to that fifth inning, got some guys on base, worked out of the stretch, did different things. It was a good day.”
The Dodgers have not yet outlined what’s next for Kershaw, though Roberts alluded to his rehab assignment spanning multiple starts. Kershaw echoed that sentiment.
“I’d love to pitch the next one for the Dodgers,” he acknowledged. “But I also don’t want to put the bullpen at risk or anything with a pitch count that’s too low. Most likely probably another [rehab start].”
Kershaw finished the night at 61 pitches (42 strikes), with two runs allowed on four hits, including one home run.
If he is to make a second start for Oklahoma City on normal rest, the earliest Kershaw presumably would join the Dodgers rotation is Sunday, April 14.