LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw had no problems to report after throwing off a mound on Tuesday for the second time since his setback, but the Dodgers' ace also had no confirmation that he's headed toward a 100 percent recovery from a herniated disk this season.Kershaw threw 41 pitches in
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw had no problems to report after throwing off a mound on Tuesday for the second time since his setback, but the Dodgers' ace also had no confirmation that he's headed toward a 100 percent recovery from a herniated disk this season.
Kershaw threw 41 pitches in the Dodger Stadium bullpen, using breaking balls and simulating sequences he would use against hitters. He will now spend the next two days playing catch, then increase his workload to approximately 60 pitches. The plan from there has yet to be determined.
If this all sounds familiar, it's because Kershaw was near this point in his rehab when he had a setback in mid-July. When asked if he had any doubt he would return this season, Kershaw didn't make any guarantees.
"That's such a hard question," Kershaw said. "I was this far last time, too. I'm optimistic, obviously, but I need to face hitters to know. I need to know, with that added intensity, that I'll come out of it OK."
Kershaw would likely make just one rehab appearance in the Minors before a return. Manager Dave Roberts said there were discussions as to whether to have the left-hander make two appearances, but Kershaw insisted he would need just one. With the end of the Minor League season coming in early September, there is a limited amount of time to get Kershaw on the mound.
Of course, this all comes down to whether the Kershaw who comes back is the same Kershaw who dominated the National League to a historic degree in the first half. Again, there are no guarantees, as Kershaw has never had to spend this much time on the DL.
"Obviously, you hope adrenaline helps with that and as you progress you get a little more consistent with everything," Kershaw said. "It's new territory for me, too, I've never had to sit out this long, so we'll see."
• The Dodgers' medical staff reported to Roberts 10 days ago that outfielder Andre Ethier has turned a corner in his recovery from a Spring Training tibia fracture, so Roberts now believes a return in September will indeed come for the outfielder.
Ethier is currently rehabbing in Arizona, running and swinging a bat. Similar to Kershaw, there are internal talks about a rehab assignment, but the end of the Minor League season looms.
"We're definitely working against a calendar," Roberts said. "We're going to try to get him as many at-bats as we can."
• Left-hander Alex Wood said that he started throwing off flat ground for the first time since his elbow debridement surgery on July 20. The southpaw is still on track for a mid-September return to the bullpen. The team plans to figure out a schedule as far as throwing off a mound later this week.
Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.