NEW YORK -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will come off the disabled list and start Saturday night's game against the Mets, forgoing a previously scheduled Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Dave Roberts announced before Friday night's series opener at Citi Field.Kershaw has been limited to one start since May 1.
NEW YORK -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will come off the disabled list and start Saturday night's game against the Mets, forgoing a previously scheduled Minor League rehabilitation assignment, manager Dave Roberts announced before Friday night's series opener at Citi Field.
Kershaw has been limited to one start since May 1. He first went on the DL with left biceps tendinitis, was activated for one five-inning start on May 31, then went back on the DL with a strained lower back. Kershaw will be opposing Mets ace Jacob deGrom and his Major League-leading 1.51 ERA. deGrom has posted a 0.90 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings over his last 11 starts.
After bullpen sessions and a simulated game, Kershaw was to make a rehab start on Saturday night for Triple-A Oklahoma City in Omaha, Neb. But with rain expected in Omaha, as it is in New York on Saturday, Dodgers management was convinced (in large part by Kershaw) to call an audible.
"We're going to keep him here with us," Roberts said. "With the weather uncertainty in Omaha, to make his start is probably the best thing for him and for us. We don't know how much he's going to pitch. Obviously, there is a limitation with him.
"Yeah, there's weather [expected in New York]. As I understand it, there's a potential delay, but we'll be mindful of it. We're not going to do anything to put him in harm's way."
Caleb Ferguson, originally announced as Saturday's Dodgers starter, will remain active and serve as a long reliever to take over if Kershaw's start is cut short. That means Kershaw's return will force the removal of another player from the active roster.
"He did play a little weatherman," Roberts confirmed of Kershaw's role.
Roberts had initially expressed concerns about Kershaw's readiness for Major League competition, with the lefty having pitched only five innings in the past six weeks.
"The thing is, we're going to obviously monitor the length for tomorrow," Roberts said. "We feel comfortable and confident."
Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, began the year with some tough luck, going 1-4 despite posting a 2.76 ERA and a 3.46 FIP. Eyes will likely be on the radar gun on Saturday, as the southpaw was recording the lowest fastball velocities of his career before landing on the DL.
Rich Hill will start for the Dodgers on Sunday, and Kenta Maeda will start on Monday.
• Chris Taylor, removed from Wednesday's game due to a tight left hamstring, was not in the starting lineup on Friday night, but he said he would probably be available off the bench to pinch-hit. Roberts said he will be re-evaluated on Saturday. Enrique Hernandez started at shortstop.
• Rookie right-hander Walker Buehler is still experiencing some pain in his microfractured rib, but he'll throw a bullpen session to determine if he's close to being activated off the DL. Buehler made three starts before the injury was diagnosed. It was caused by a 108-mph line drive that drilled him on May 21, but Buehler wasn't placed on the DL until he had to be removed from a June 8 start with pain and difficulty breathing.
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.