Clayton Kershaw to Make Rehab Appearance Before Return to Dodgers from Injury

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game at Wrigley Field on Monday, and now, he is ready to take the mound in a real game.

But the organization isn't rushing him back to face major league hitters just yet.

Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported Tuesday that Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts announced Kershaw will make a rehab start for the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday, and the outing is expected to last four innings.

Kershaw last pitched in an MLB game May 31, throwing five innings of four-hit, one-run baseball against the Philadelphia Phillies. He left the contest because of a lower-back strain and was later placed on the disabled list.

That outing marked his first game since May 1, as a DL stint for left biceps tendinitis kept him sidelined for nearly a month.  

"Beyond frustrating," Kershaw said of his exit against the Phillies, per Glenn Rabney for MLB.com. "I felt like I was out of the woods. I was feeling good and then to have that crop up."

Given the 30-year-old's injury history, especially with his back, the Dodgers are proceeding with caution. He missed roughly two-and-a-half months in 2016 because of a mild herniated disc and over a month last season because of a lower-back strain

Things went well Monday, but the Dodgers will ease him back into action.

"Obviously, Clayton is going to be more on the aggressive side, which we all appreciate, but we have to talk to the training staff and front office and make the decision that makes the most sense for him and for us," Roberts said, per Gurnick.

When he has been healthy this season, Kershaw has been the dominant starter fans have come to know through the years. He has a 2.76 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in eight starts, striking out 53 batters in 49 innings.

The reigning National League champs have gotten off to a slow start (37-33), but they sit just two games behind the NL-West leading Arizona Diamondbacks despite a handful of injuries. NL Rookie of the Year Corey Seager is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May, while the pitching staff has been decimated. Tony Cingrani, Rich Hill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Walker Buehler and Pedro Baez are among those on the DL.

Fortunately for the Dodgers, they are set to get the 2014 NL MVP back in the rotation soon.

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