LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will face hitters on Sunday for the first time in his rehab from inflammation in his upper back, manager Don Mattingly said before Saturday's game against the Diamondbacks.
Kershaw was placed on the disabled list on March 30 was inflammation of the teres major muscle in the upper part of his left back, just below the shoulder. Since then he has been on a submaximal throwing program, which basically consists of playing catch, though Kershaw has increased the intensity of those throws in recent days.
Mattingly said that Kershaw on Sunday would first throw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium, followed by facing a few hitters in a simulated game. Kershaw will throw roughly 15 pitches facing the hitters, and won't be throwing at full intensity yet.
"There will be a limit as far as what he's doing with the hitters," Mattingly said. "He'll go down in the bullpen first, then finish up with hitters."
Mattingly said as far as he knew there are no further plans for another MRI, but that as long as Kershaw feels fine as he progresses he will continue to move forward. Eventually Kershaw will need to pitch on a minor league rehab assignment but when that begins depends on how Kershaw progresses.
"It's probably too early for a timetable. But we're stepping forward," Mattingly said. "Eventually he's going to have to go throw somewhere. It all depends on how one step goes to the next."
Yasiel Puig, 1-for-9 with three strikeouts in two Double-A games in 2013 against Diamondbacks starter Michael Bolsinger, gets the night off in the outfield rotation. Puig had his left hand wrapped after Friday's game, but he is fine and available to play if needed.
"He's pretty much always with that thumb wrapping or icing it," Mattingly said. "It's part of his maintenance now."
Tim Federowicz's left wrist, hit by Paul Goldschmit's bat in the 10th inning Friday night, is sore but the catcher is available to play tonight if needed. He is not starting. Federowicz said he was wearing a cup when he was hit by a 93-mph fastball directly in the groin, on the same play as the catcher's interference.
Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson were both unavailable on Friday night after long outings on Thursday (and pitching in three of four days for Jansen), but both relievers are available to pitch Saturday night.
Mattingly said Dee Gordon, who has stolen 10 bases in 11 attempts this year, pretty much has the green light to run when on the bases, except in rare instances.
"Dee's shown a lot more maturity on the bases. If a guy is going to be 1.0 or 1.1 [seconds to the plate], we're not trying to run," Mattingly said. "You can't outrun certain things. It's mathematics."