Clayton Kershaw hit the mound for triple-A Oklahoma City Thursday night, tossing a 90 mph fastball and generally looking closer to returning. The left-hander’s looked composed against the San Antonio Missions — the Milwaukee Brewers’ top farm club — after allowing two runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out six.
Tyrone Taylor for San Antonio got under Kershaw’s first pitch of the second inning for a homer. Later in the inning, Kershaw also ceded an RBI single. After that, he lasted until the fifth inning with no further damage.
Afterward, he talked with reporters, saying that he may need one more rehab start before returning to Los Angeles.
“Good first step,” he said. “Got through everything I needed to, got through to the fifth inning. Got some guys on base, worked through some different things. It was a good day.
“I’d love to pitch the next one for the Dodgers, but I don’t want to put the bullpen in trouble with a pitch count that’s too low. Most likely, probably another one (in Oklahoma City).”
Kershaw was put on the 10-Day Injury List for the Dodgers with shoulder inflammation. He threw a simulated game on Saturday, March 30th.
Manager Dave Roberts has been tight-lipped regarding the situation and his star pitcher’s potential return but has hinted that Kershaw is “In a really good spot right now physically.” With no news of any setbacks following Kershaw’s three inning simulated game nor Thursday’s minor-league start, he looks to be on pace to return by mid-April.
Per the LA Times’ Jorge Castillo, Dave Roberts isn’t looking to rush things.
This week, Roberts suggested the three-time National League Cy Young award winner may stay on the 10-day disabled list for a second rehab start. He’s in line to pitch again Tuesday. The Dodgers will be in St. Louis that day for their second game of a four-game series against the Cardinals.
Dodger’s Pitching Staff Without Clayton Kershaw
Dodgers Pitching Staff
In the most recent series against the Giants, the Dodgers starters have allowed just 5 earned runs in 3 games. Urias allowed none in 5 innings, Ryu allowed just 2 in 7 and Stripling ceded 3 in 6 innings.
Overall, the Dodgers rank No. 21 in the majors in ERA, though that can be placed more on the bullpen than the main rotation. In particular, Pedro Baez has allowed just under a 5 ERA, while Yimi Garcia is hovering around 12 for the young season.
Regardless, it’s early. Also, Los Angeles is 5-2 on the season. This is a much better start than the previous three years, where the Dodgers started late March and April with losing records.
With this success, Roberts can wait for Kershaw to be fully ready before he provides reinforcements to an already solid pitching staff.