Tuesday night's opener for the Dodgers against the Padres features a series of returns. First and foremost is Clayton Kershaw, who threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. and is on track to start Friday, though nothing has been announced by the team.
"Everything has been totally normal. He's doing everything he would do after any other start through the course of the whole season," said manager Don Mattingly. "Where that goes, I'm not sure. I saw him in the lobby yesterday and he asked, 'When am I pitching again?'"
Mattingly said he would meet with general manager Ned Colletti before announcing when Kershaw would start again. A Friday start for Kershaw would keep him available to pitch on regular rest on Oct. 3, the final game of the regular season, if needed.
"We'll see what they let me do," Kershaw said. "I'm optimistic now because it feels good. I didn't really know the long term health to begin with. We'll see what happens. We'll make it through how ever many starts I have and make a decision from there."
Kershaw wouldn't comment on whether or not hip surgery was an option in the offseason.
Mattingly did concede that the Dodgers' position in the standings could affect Kershaw's availability to pitch Friday. Though it was pointed out that the Dodgers could not be mathematically eliminated before Friday.
"Thanks for the good news," Mattingly quipped.
"You can't look at the percentages at this point for us," Mattingly said. "You have to think about winning games, and look at it that way."
I told Mattingly that if he did finish 10-0, he would be the first Dodgers team to do so since 1888, and that the St. Louis Browns (the precursor to the Cardinals) still won the championship. Mattingly turned to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times and joked, "And you say he has no life."
There was life in the bat of Adrian Gonzalez on Sunday, and he hopes it carries over to his first game back in San Diego.
"I hope I'm back. I felt something in my swing that felt really good. I felt it the day before; it felt good, but didn't feel great. I made a little tweak on Sunday, and when you see results it feels great," Gonzalez said. "You might feel great in BP, then you go into the game and hit a hard ground ball and a line drive and are 0-for-2, then you start thinking and doubting it."
Gonzalez said he was happy to sleep in his own bed, and eat at his favorite restaurants in Chula Vista. But that he also said he was focused on the job at hand, even while happy to return to his old stomping grounds.
"It's still serious. You still go out there and produce, do what you have to do," Gonzalez said. "But I was born here, I grew up here, so there are definitely a lot more connections."
When asked how he thought the San Diego fans would greet his first time back since getting traded after the 2010 season, Gonzalez said, "I don't know... That's the furthest thing from my mind."
Hanley Ramirez didn't miss any games, but he did leave Sunday's game early after fouling a ball off his left shin. X-rays were negative on Sunday and Mattingly said Ramirez felt fine, good enough to start.
Joining Ramirez in the starting lineup is Shane Victorino, who missed all three games in Cincinnati after hurting his wrist while trying to catch a ball against the wall in Washington D.C. against the Nationals.