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Clayton Kershaw’s bullpen session goes ‘better than fine’

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are taking the slow approach to Clayton Kershaw’s rehab and who can blame them when the team has won 13 of 15 games in his absence. With a 10.0-game lead over the Astros for the best record in baseball and a 16.0-game lead in the NL West, they can afford to make sure he is one-hundred percent.

Nobody in the Dodgers’ clubhouse seems all that concerned and Kershaw’s health is improving by the day. The superstar left-hander fired 35 pitches in a bullpen session Friday and all he cared to say was, “It was fine.”

Manager Dave Roberts confirmed as such ahead of the opener with the Padres.

“It went better than fine for us,” Roberts said. I think that Clayton, out of that pen, for us to get out of it unscathed and feel good about it, it’s very good. He used his entire mix. Obviously with him, the execution piece he always expects perfection out of himself.”

“There is going to be another pen here in a couple days. At that point in time we’ll make a decision. Obviously a rehab assignment is in store. One or two (starts) I can’t speak to that right now but the next step is the pen.”

If all goes well, there could be news of when Kershaw will head out on a rehab assignment by the time the White Sox roll into town on Tuesday.

More injury updates

Roberts mentioned that Yasmani Grandal is feeling better after experiencing back spasms on the team’s recent road trip. Austin Barnes has proven to the club that he is more than capable of handling the position which makes it easier to get Grandal the rest.

According to Roberts, Grandal is scheduled to be in the lineup the next two games of the weekend.

Grant Dayton is on the mend and threw a simulated game Friday. The lefty had been experiencing neck pain in his follow through and has battled it all season.

“(His neck) has got a lot better,” Roberts said. “With Grant, the velocity plays up. With the neck issue, the extension wasn't there so there was some glove-side yanks and not being able to command the breaking ball.”

“We’re looking for him to finish through the catcher’s mitt. There will be a short rehab and we’ll get him back soon.”

Starting Lineups

Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
Pos Padres Pos Dodgers
CF Margot CF Taylor
2B Asuaje (L) SS Seager (L)
LF Pirela 3B Turner
RF Renfroe 1B Bellinger (L)
1B Myers 2B Forsythe
3B Spangenberg (L) LF Hernandez
C Hedges C Barnes
SS Coleman RF Puig
P Richard (L) P Hill (L)

Let it eat

The Dodgers will face Clayton Richard Friday night and have hit him particularly well. In three starts this season, the Dodgers have touched up the lefty for 12 runs in 17 13 innings.

Barnes (3-for-6) and Justin Turner (4-for-7) have each hit homers off Richard this year while Logan Forsythe has gone 4-for-4 with two walks.

Richard has given up 180 hits, the most in baseball to go along with 18 homers. The Dodgers offense could be in for a good time.

Rich Hill will face a Padres’ offense that has scored the lowest amount of runs in all of baseball. San Diego has a .702 OPS as a team which is only better than the Giants’ .684 OPS this season.