Dodgers Video: Clayton Kershaw Faces Joc Pederson, Rob Segedin And Chase Utley In Simulated Game
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Dodgers have exercised caution throughout the process, Clayton Kershaw has recovered from a lower back strain ahead of schedule. Once pain subsided he was permitted to playing catch and that quickly evolved into throwing bullpen sessions.

Kershaw twice threw a bullpen, each time doing so without the back becoming an issue. That put the three-time Cy Young Award winner on track to advance to a simulated game at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw was penciled to throw 35 pitches while facing batters for the first time.

That group included Joc Pederson, Rob Segedin and Chase Utley, with Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt among those watching over the session.

If video of the simulated game captured by J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group is any indication, Kershaw didn’t have much rust in his soft return to the mound.

Assuming Kershaw does not report any unusual pain or soreness, he will next pitch on a rehab assignment or throw another simulated game. The road to a return is similar to the one Kershaw took last season when he missed 10 weeks due to a mild herniated disc.

The current timeline would leave Kershaw on track to come off the disabled list by month’s end, which is in line with his desire to make a handful of starts in preparation for the playoffs.

Without their ace the Dodgers have continued to push ahead and on Tuesday became the first team in Los Angeles franchise history to go 50 games over .500.