Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed ace Clayton Kershaw has reached the next step in his recovery from back inflammation. After a process complete with a submaximal throwing regimen to long-toss, Kershaw is set to pitch in a live game.

Following another successful bullpen session on Tuesday, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly confirmed Kershaw will make a rehab start with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on Friday, via Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:

According to Gurnick, Kershaw will complete more than one rehab assignment:

Within the last 10 days, Kershaw has been steadily increasing the velocity in his throwing sessions without suffering any setbacks. He recently threw a simulated game, which coincidentally was caught by the also recovering A.J. Ellis. Without Kershaw, the Dodgers pitching staff has performed admirably. Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu have risen as the leaders of the starting rotation and veterans Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have each turned in multiple solid outings.

Shortly after landing on the disabled list, there was some concern Kershaw would not be available until June, but early-to-mid May now appears to be a realistic option. In a recent interview with Jim Rome, Mattingly said he believes Kershaw could return in a few weeks.

The Dodgers understandably were cautious with how they brought the left-hander along. With Kershaw’s ability to advance with his recovery while avoiding any lingering pain or soreness, it now appears some of the restrictions placed on him will be lifted. Kershaw won’t necessarily aid what’s been plaguing the Dodgers as of late — poor hitting and fielding — but the team will certainly welcome the unquestioned leader of the staff back with open arms.
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Dodgers News: A.J. Ellis Out, Knee Surgery, Clayton Kershaw Improving

About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

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