It was a sunny Sunday at Dodger Stadium and Clayton Kershaw took the mound with A.J. Ellis behind the plate as many expected to see plenty of times this season– only it was 10 a.m. and Kershaw was facing Drew Butera and Chone Figgins.
The Los Angeles Dodgers caught a glimpse of what could be returning to the field today when Kershaw threw a simulated game and Ellis was the one behind the plate. Ellis is returning from minor surgery for a torn meniscus, while Kershaw has been recovering from a teres major muscle strain.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kershaw began the day with results and good news:
Clayton Kershaw threw at ‘full effort’ in a three-inning simulated game on Sunday and ‘assumes’ a Minor League rehab assignment is next.
The reigning Cy Young award winner went three innings and threw 50 pitches, even taking the time to shake off Ellis’ signs. Kershaw made one start this season, which came on the Australia version of Opening Day, before heading to the disabled list and missing all of April thus far. Some in the organization believed he would be out until June, but it seems as if the left-hander is ahead of that pace.
Kershaw gave his thoughts on his performance via Gurnick:
This was full effort for me, he said. You can’t simulate the adrenaline of a big league game. But as far as [a] 10 a.m. sim game, that’s all I got.
Kershaw said the soreness and stiffness from the teres major muscle strain in his back that put him on the disabled list after his Opening Night start in Australia ‘is gone, and now it’s just building back up’ arm strength.
To build his arm strength, the 26-year-old will likely make a few rehab starts in the minors and join the rotation once he is ready. The team has done well in his absence, sitting in first place, but will welcome back their ace with open arms.
Dodgers News: AJ Ellis Out, Knee Surgery, Clayton Kershaw Improving