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Clayton Kershaw, Joc Pederson nearing return to Dodgers

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"When are you coming back?" "When are YOU coming back?"
"When are you coming back?" "When are YOU coming back?"
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers open a nine-game road trip on Friday against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix, and there is a good chance they could see both Clayton Kershaw and Joc Pederson return to the club on the trip

Manager Dave Roberts met with reporters on Thursday at Dodger Stadium, providing an update on several of the Dodgers on the mend. First and foremost among that group, understandably, is Kershaw, who is sidelined with a mild disc herniation in his back and last started for the Dodgers on June 26.

Kershaw won't be a part of the Dodgers' starting rotation the first time through after the break, with Bud Norris, Brandon McCarthy and Kenta Maeda set to start this weekend at Chase Field, followed by Scott Kazmir and Hyun-jin Ryu in the first two games in Washington next Tuesday and Wednesday.

But after that, it sounds as if Kershaw is being considered for a return to the rotation.

Dodgers starting pitchers have averaged 5.11 innings per start in the 19 games since Kershaw's last start, with a 5.01 ERA.

Whether Kershaw returns next week, or even perhaps the next time through the rotation when the Dodgers return home, the All-Star break has afforded the club a break in that Kershaw might end up only missing three or four starts, which seems remarkable given the early fears once his back injury sprung up.

It seems Pederson will beat Kershaw back to the Dodgers, perhaps to open the series against the Nationals. Pederson sprained his AC joint in his right shoulder crashing into the center field wall while making a spectacular catch in Milwaukee on June 28.

Dodgers center fielders since Pederson went on the DL (Trayce Thompson for 43 plate appearances, Andrew Toles for seven) are 8-for-47 (.170/.220/.362), with two home runs, three doubles, three walks and 15 strikeouts.

That duo isn't alone on the Dodgers disabled list. Here is a tour around most of the 60-day DL: