The return plan for Clayton Kershaw gained more clarity on Sunday, with manager Dave Roberts saying another simulated game for the Dodgers left-hander is in the works for Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
#Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Clayton Kershaw will face live hitters again on Thursday. If that goes well, they’ll talk about potential activation against the Dbacks next week.— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) July 30, 2023
Kershaw pitched three innings in a simulated game on Saturday, and adding one more simulated game before a return would stretch him out to be able to pitch at least five innings in his first start back from shoulder soreness.
During Sunday’s SportsNet LA broadcast of Dodgers vs. Reds, Kershaw was interviewed from the dugout, and told Joe Davis and Orel Hershiser, “I don’t think any of us are sure what the next step is, but obviously in the next 4-5 days I’ll be throwing off a mound. Just trying to figure out where that is. I’m encouraged. It’s been too long, so I’m ready to get back out there.”
Kershaw last pitched on June 27 against the Rockies at Coors Field. Thursday’s simulated game would leave him in line to start against the Diamondbacks in Phoenix on either August 8 or August 9.
Lance Lynn was activated by the Dodgers on Sunday, and will start on Tuesday against the A’s.
The Dodgers are convinced Lynn will be much better than his 6.47 ERA with the White Sox, and the veteran right-hander is looking forward to a fresh start with a new team.
“I’ve had some ups and downs this year, for sure,” he said. “When you look at ERA and wins and losses, it’s the worst I’ve had in my career. And then you look at strikeouts per nine and stuff like that, they’re the best I’ve ever had.
“It’s been a weird year, but hopefully we can make sure that the ERA and wins take care of themselves and we keep the other things going in a positive direction and maybe a change of scenery will help that.”
Josh Thomas at Dodgers Digest took a look at MLB domestic roster limits, currently at 180 players during the season, and how that might affect the Dodgers decisions leading into Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Thomas also looked at the upcoming decrease in that minor league limits to 165 players beginning in 2024 as part of the new minor league collective bargaining agreement.
That upcoming crunch was mentioned by Dodgers vice president of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino after the MLB Draft, which is both a looming challenge and allowed for some riskier draft picks this year.
Gasparino lamented the incoming limits that will shrink organizational minor-league rosters from 180 to 165 players in 2024, as negotiated in the first-ever minor-league collective bargaining agreement. That, Gasparino said, “squeezed” on a Dodgers farm system that has been lauded for its depth and propelled the organization to take more chances in the later rounds of the draft even if there are signability concerns.
Old friend Mitch White was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Sunday as Toronto made roster room for newly-acquired closer Jordan Hicks. White’s last game with the Blue Jays was suffering the loss on James Outman’s walk-off double in the 10th inning on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.