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Clayton Kershaw will throw simulated game at Dodger Stadium, homestand activation possible

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MLB: JUL 19 Dodgers at Orioles Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw on Friday threw his second bullpen session of the road trip as he makes his way back from a sore left shoulder. A simulated game is up next, at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

Kershaw’s bullpen session on Friday came at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, his and the Dodgers’ first time at the ballpark since winning the World Series there in 2020. Manager Dave Roberts told reporters before Friday’s game the summary from pitching coach Mark Prior and head athletic trainer Thomas Albert.

“They said it was upwards of 40 pitches, a really good, competitive pen,” Roberts said, as shown on SportsNet LA. “I think the next step is for him to to throw a live, simulated three-inning situation with our guys on Monday.”

Friday was the second bullpen session this week for Kershaw, who also did so on Tuesday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which was his first time pitching off a mound since his June 27 start at Coors Field.

Tuesday’s bullpen session was 30 pitches, after watch Kershaw offered a terse assessment, per Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register: “All good. Felt fine.”

Kershaw has been fairly cagey about the exact nature of his left shoulder malady. He told reporters last weekend in New York that he’s felt fine since receiving the cortisone shot to combat shoulder inflammation after leaving that start in Colorado, but is resting on the advice of team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

From Fabian Ardaya at The Athletic during the Mets series:

“It’s the weirdest thing,” Kershaw said. “I feel completely fine. The shoulder feels good. I’ve just been told it has to rest. It’s a weird deal. I’ve never had anything like it, to the point where, like I’m gonna go play catch today and throw it as hard as I can, and they say it needs to rest. It’s just weird, honestly. I don’t know what to make of it. But I’m just gonna have to listen to them.”

Kershaw was placed on the injured list on July 3.

Dave Roberts coming out of the All-Star break provided a rough estimate that Kershaw’s return could be in the beginning of August. But based on what Robert said Friday in Texas, it sounds like it could be earlier. Maybe.

Roberts did say Kershaw won’t need a minor league rehab start before getting activated, so the next decision is whether Kershaw will throw one simulated game or two.

The Dodgers upcoming homestand is nine games over 11 days. Kershaw needing only one simulated game could mean a return next weekend against the Reds. Otherwise, it could be in the “beginning of August” that Roberts initially offered, either at home against the A’s or in San Diego against the Padres.

“We’re going to leave it open,” Roberts said Friday, again per SportsNet LA. “We’ll get through that first hurdle of a sim game, and see how Clayton feels. After that, we’ll know how to navigate.”