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Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Makes a Big Leap in Recovery from Elbow Issue



As Dave Roberts said, Monday was a good day for the Dodgers. Ahead of the 5-3 win over the visiting Atlanta Braves, injured ace Clayton Kershaw threw an “aggressive” live batting practice session at Dodger Stadium. The left-hander threw his entire pitch mix while facing hitters from the local Single-A team in Rancho Cucamonga.

With that in mind, the reaction of the Dodger manager was pretty telling of how things went for Kersh.

It was really good. I think I’m optimistic. I’m excited. He’s excited. It was one inning, but he let it go. [He] threw a fastball, slider and [changeup] and we’re all encouraged. The big tell, as far as the short term, is how he feels tomorrow. Assuming he feels good and recovers well, then we can kind of bump up the progression, but overall, a really good start to our day.

After not missing a start over the first three months of the season, Clayton last pitched on July 3 in Washington. Since then, he’s been nursing soreness in his forearm/elbow area that has often left him frustrated, to say the least. Last month, Kershaw admitted to trying to come back too fast, which likely added a month to his stint on the injured list.

Now, provided he comes to work feeling good today, he could begin building up his pitch count in earnest. Roberts added that, depending on how the left-hander feels, another simulated session or bullpen session would be the next step in his return to the active roster. Kershaw is eligible to return from the IL on September 5th, which he won’t do. But if all goes according to plan, he may not be all that far behind.

NEXT: Clayton Kershaw Open to Any Role In His Return

Written by Clint Pasillas

Clint is the lead editor of Dodgers Nation, and a host and analyst on Dodgers Nation's own Blue Heaven podcast live stream.

He's been writing, blogging, and podcasting Dodgers since about 2008. He was there for Nomar, Greg Maddux, and Blake DeWitt, and he'll be there for Walker Buehler, Alex Verdugo, Dustin May, and any Dodgers of the future.

He's also a sandwich enthusiast, a consummate athlete, and a friend.

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  1. We are now just 1.5 games out DESPITE Roberts’ decisions, not because of them. Last Sunday’s game was a “call it in” game. I understand the need for bullpen games but to sit 3 of your most productive hitters at the same time is an affront to all fans and extremely disrespectful to the opposing team. It is tantamount to saying, we can beat you with our JV team. We are risking being in a one game playoff and, with this attitude, we deserve to be one and done. Totally classless!

    • John, but continued use of BP games constantly and late into the year just may prove costly in the end. Every day now the topic of a taxed BP is part of the daily discussion on the broadcasts.

      • Paul I’m not sure the BP is really that taxed. Jansen and Treinen are at normal innings for their careers and Knebel, Vesia, Bickford, and Graterol are each below half of Jansen’s with Kershaw and Gonsolin on the way. The Dodgers used a lot of AAA or throwaways in their BP games. It’s Buehler and, especially, Urias who are logging the most innings of their careers that are key. The loss of either make October very difficult.

        • I agree and see the system they are using. They’re keeping guys relevant and being efficient in using the right guys conducive to getting certain batters out. The regulars in the BP know their roles and are ready to row at any moment, after all they’re only pitching an ave. of 10-20 pitch or 3 batters. However, I am concerned on Urias and Buehler reaching their most innings pitched in their careers, especially both had major surgeries earlier.

  2. The fact remains that we have been short two starters for most of the season and Price does not usually go deep. As a consequence, the bullpen has been used a lot and Buehler and Urias typically go deep. I, too, am most concerned about them and keeping both of these pitchers healthy. Its good to read, as per Bum4ever, that our relievers may not be as taxed as some of us believe them to be. Regardless, Roberts must be conscientious about how he is using each reliever and when he is using each reliever. Playing smart ball is playing good ball.

    • you can’t assume we have had the same bullpen all season – we haven’t!!! something like 30 Dodger pitchers have pitched in relief this season. Analytics enables teams like the Dodgers and Rays to exploit available arms, throw a bullpen game or two a week and still have great success.

  3. They also could go w/ a Johnny-Whole-Staff today w/ a off day tomorrow, and save Scherzer for the Giants on Fri. and then follow w/ Urias and Buehler for the weekend. A win/loss in that series is a big swing in games behind for whichever team, as they won’t meet again for the rest of the season. The off day will give the staff the rest to challenge the Giants.

    • don’t think for a second the Dodgers made this decision lightly. They used analytics to determine the Brewers would be the gnats and we need our 3 starters to beat the Braves. I believe the gnats/Dodgers are even head-to-head this year so all we have to do is win the season series and we are the NL West Champs again. and that means Buehler and Urias should win their games this weekend.

      • I still think beating the Giants w/ your three best available is more important than beating the Braves in the third game. They have already won the series w/ the Braves and I believe the BP staff can hold their own and shut the Braves down w/ a variety of pitchers thrown @ them. The Giants series is the most important one for the yr. until the playoffs. If they had lost last night then you would throw Scherzer tonight because you don’t want to go to SF flat on a losing streak. Can’t guarantee that Urias and Buehler would win their games, and now you are faced w/ uncertainty on the third game in SF.

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