Clayton Kershaw threw a 20-pitch bullpen session before Tuesday’s series opener against the Padres at Petco Park in San Diego, the first time the Dodgers left-hander has thrown off a mound in four weeks.
Kershaw, on the injured list since July 7 with inflammation in his left elbow/forearm, last threw off a mound in a three-inning simulated game on July 27 in San Francisco, after which he felt soreness in his arm and was shut down.
“It’s still nothing serious, but it’s just something that’s going to take a little bit of time. It’s not fun,” Kershaw said on August 6. “Being hurt is miserable, and I really don’t enjoy it at all.”
Kershaw in recent days before games at Dodger Stadium has played catch in the outfield, and long toss of up to 120 and 150 feet over the weekend.
Tuesday’s bullpen session in San Diego was all fastballs.
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“I talked to him just briefly afterwards, and he felt pretty good about it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I’d say it’s play catch tomorrow, see how it responds, and we’ll do another pen where we can start spinning the baseball.”
Kershaw was transferred to the 60-day injured list, so the earliest he could be activated is September 5. But the question isn’t so much when he can be activated, but rather how stretched out will he be for the postseason. Roberts did not want to commit to a timetable for Kershaw’s return, or a role for the left-hander.
“I do know that Clayton, first and foremost, wants to be healthy, and he’s open to whatever will help the team at that point,” Roberts said.
“As we can start using his entire mix, getting up to that 32-pitch — which is his normal bullpen session — with 100-percent effort, we’ll start kind of getting closer. But today was a big step for all of us.”
On the mend
Mookie Betts hit a pair of home runs in a simulated game at Dodger Stadium, and remains on track for possible activation off the injured list Thursday. “He’s in a really good spot, as good as he’s been all year,” Roberts said.
Joe Kelly is with the Dodgers in San Diego, and will likely be activated before Wednesday’s game.
Andre Jackson is also with the Dodgers on the short road trip, on the taxi squad. “We’ll decide what we’re going to do with him in the coming days,” Roberts said.
Jackson was optioned to the minors on August 17, and can’t be activated before Friday unless it’s to replace an injured player.