Kershaw One Step Closer To Return After Throwing Simulated Game

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Clayton Kershaw along with Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, and Brandon McCarthy all threw in a simulated rehab game Tuesday at Dodger Stadium in hopes of taking one step closer to returning to the starting rotation before the playoffs begin.

In the simulated game Kershaw threw two innings, Anderson four innings, and Kazmir and McCarthy both threw five.

Despite being the furthest away of the four rehabbing pitchers from being game ready, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that his guess was that Kershaw would need at least one minor league start to further build his arm strength before returning to the top of the Dodgers’ rotation.

“My guess is Kersh wants to pitch in an [MLB] game tomorrow, but with the time he’s missed [two months], my guess is the next step will be a Minor League assignment,” Friedman said. “It will take a little time to build him up to be strong through September and October as well. All of it is speculative.”

The team’s ace – who’s been out with a herniated disk since June 27 and has already encountered one setback delaying his return – threw a 60-pitch bullpen session Sunday, leading Friedman to scale back his simulated game innings because of the  intensity of facing hitters, even if the ones Tuesday were from Class A Rancho Cucamonga.

“It was a great step in his progression, he felt great after, which is everything we cared about,” Friedman said. “As we knew he would do, he said he wasn’t as sharp as he wanted. We’ll assess tomorrow the next steps.”

In regards to the other three pitchers working on also finding their way back to the Dodgers’ rotation, manager Dave Roberts said Kazmir – who was placed on the DL on August 23 for a neck injury – is the closest to returning, perhaps without needing another outing.

McCarthy was placed on the DL on May 31 due to hip stiffness, while Anderson has had a finger blister, and Roberts said both will need at least one more assignment before rejoining the club.

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