Tuesday was a big day for the Los Angeles Dodgers and injured ace Clayton Kershaw. The left-hander, who has been on the injured list since early July with an elbow issue, made a rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City and, by all accounts, came out of the outing clean.
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Kershaw allowed 2 runs over 3 innings and got up to 49 pitches on Tuesday night. After his outing, he was his usual critical self.
“It was good to be back out there and I felt all right, overall. Stuff wasn’t that great. But I did it, got through it. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow and go from there. … Obviously I’d love to throw 110 [pitches] and be ready to throw 7 or 8 [innings], but that’s just not the reality of it. I just need to try and keep building from there and get to 60, or whatever I do next.”
What’s next was exactly what was on the minds of reporters after the Dodgers’ 7-2 victory over the Cardinals last night. More specifically whether Kershaw could rejoin the rotation on his next turn.
“The plan is for him to come [to St. Louis],” Dave Roberts said. “He’ll throw a bullpen in a couple days. I heard [his outing] was good — Clayton is always going to expect the best from himself. … But we’ll see where we’ll pencil him into the rotation, but yeah, that’s the plan.”
While Doc seemed hopeful for Kershaw, the pitcher was less certain about his next steps, possibly opening the door for a second rehab outing while he builds up his pitch count.
“I think that’s probably a discussion tomorrow. A lot of it is based on our rotation, how things look and different things like that. Obviously, I’m not built up for a full start yet, so I think a lot of things are in consideration. We’ll see how it goes.”
The biggest deciding factor for the Dodgers may be need more than want. Over the last few months, Roberts and company have deployed multiple bullpen games per week to stay in the hunt while missing key members of the rotation. And the club has stayed in the hunt with aplomb, posting the second-best winning percentage in baseball despite missing Kershaw and others for a sizable stretch of the season.
The Dodgers are back in action tonight in St. Louis with rookie right-hander Mitch White getting the start against veteran Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.