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Clayton Kershaw pitches simulated game, will rejoin Dodgers Thursday or Friday

MLB: AUG 26 Dodgers at Marlins Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dodgers left-hander pitched a simulated game before Saturday’s game in Miami, facing Trayce Thompson and Hanser Alberto over four innings. That’s believed to be his last step before returning to the Dodgers rotation.

Said return will either happen Thursday afternoon, on four days rest in the Dodgers’ series finale against the Mets in New York, or on Friday night when the Dodgers return home to start a weekend series against the Padres. Kershaw on Saturday would not reveal which day he is starting to reporters in Miami.

“I don’t want to be the one to say. I’m sure Doc [Dave Roberts] will say. I know, but I’m sure he’ll tell you guys,” Kershaw said Saturday, as shown on SportsNet LA.

Thursday is September 1, the first day roster limits expand from 26 to 28 players, and 14 pitchers instead of 13, so the Dodgers wouldn’t need to make a corresponding roster move to add Kershaw, who has missed 3½ weeks with low back pain.

Kershaw last pitched on August 4, leaving his start in San Francisco after just four innings. He also missed four weeks earlier in the season with inflammation in his right SI joint, in between the pelvis and lower back.

He threw about 70 pitches during his simulated game on Saturday. Whether he comes back Thursday or Friday, there’s still time remaining on the schedule for Kershaw to make five or six rehab starts, even if the Dodgers use a six-man rotation down the stretch.

While on the mound, Kershaw has been very good this season, posting a 2.64 ERA, 2.65 xERA, and 2.73 FIP in 15 starts, with 88 strikeouts in 85⅓ innings. His 21.7-percent strikeout-minus-walk rate ranks 11th in the majors among pitchers with at least 80 innings.

More, from the reporters on-site

Bill Plunkett at the Orange County Register has updates on Chris Martin’s sore elbow, Gavin Lux’s neck issue, and more. And he also has this quote from Kershaw: “I think the situation we’re in, this is more kind of a roster decision more than anything. I’ve felt pretty good for awhile now. We took it slow, did two sim games and now ready to go. Sometimes you can’t decide when you get to pitch. They tell you. I’m just trying to listen to them as best I can, not get too impatient.”

Dave Roberts wouldn’t divulge just yet whether Kershaw will start Thursday or Friday, notes Juan Toribio at