Clayton Kershaw expected to make rehab start on Saturday, according to Dodgers

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 15: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers on the field prior to the game against the Kansas City Royals at Dodger Stadium on June 15, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Clayton Kershaw is getting closer to rejoining the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting rotation.

The three-time National League Cy Young Award winner threw two innings of a simulated game on Sunday at Dodger Stadium. His performance was encouraging enough that Kershaw is expected to pitch in a rehab start on Saturday, probably for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

“It was good to see him throw two innings,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts after the throwing session. “We accomplished what we wanted to.”

The rehab start will be the second for Kershaw since recovering from surgery to repair his left shoulder capsule and ligaments around the ball-and-socket joint in November. The left-hander threw three innings for Single-A Rancho Cucamonga on June 19, but dealt with lingering soreness after the start and was shut down.

“Just some old-man shoulder, a little bit,” he told the Los Angeles Times’ Jack Harris when asked last week what happened. “There’s some wear and tear in there. But nothing new.”

Following the rehab start, Kershaw underwent an MRI which showed no damage in his left shoulder, met with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache and received “some shots” to reduce the soreness.

Kershaw, 36, started 24 games for the Dodgers last season, his 16th year in MLB, striking out 137 batters in 131 2/3 innings and compiling a 2.46 ERA. With Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Walker Buehler on the injured list, Dustin May’s status for the season in question and Tony Gonsolin needing reconstructive elbow surgery, Kershaw’s return would be welcome.

Though with a 7 1/2-game lead in the National League West, he and the Dodgers can be patient with a recovery timeline. The team insists that a late July or early August return was always the target, meaning Kershaw is on schedule.

However, Kershaw sounds like someone who’s become tired of the rehab process.

“I’m not going to be happy until I get to go back out there,” he told reporters.

“You don’t feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing,” he added. “Even though it was kind of part of the deal with surgery, you knew you’d be out for some time, being around it more now and getting closer and like kind of tasting being able to be back out there, each day is starting to be a little bit more tedious.”

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