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Kershaw set for Minors rehab start on Thursday

Left-handed ace feels good after throwing 3-inning simulated game
@kengurnick
March 30, 2019

LOS ANGELES -- After throwing a 50-pitch simulated game Saturday, Clayton Kershaw is tentatively scheduled to make a Minor League rehab start on Thursday as he continues his recovery from left shoulder inflammation. “Felt good,” Kershaw said. “It was a good step forward. Now, I think a rehab start from

LOS ANGELES -- After throwing a 50-pitch simulated game Saturday, Clayton Kershaw is tentatively scheduled to make a Minor League rehab start on Thursday as he continues his recovery from left shoulder inflammation.

“Felt good,” Kershaw said. “It was a good step forward. Now, I think a rehab start from here. Sim games are good when it’s your only option, but to have a game-like situation, long innings that you can’t control, it’ll be good.”

Reviews on Kershaw’s Saturday outing were generally positive, if not euphoric, with manager Dave Roberts indicating the main takeaway was that Kershaw looked and sounded healthy after the workout.

“No. 1, most important, we feel he’s healthy coming out of this work,” Roberts said. “I thought it was good. I think Clayton is going to poke holes, as he does. I thought the breaking ball was good, a few good sliders in there. Just trying to build up vs. trying to be perfect with his pitch mix. There’s definitely room and expectation to lock that down, but as far as what we wanted him to accomplish, see hitters, see swings, positive.”

Roberts said Kershaw was less than pleased with his mechanics out of the stretch.

“He was better out of the windup where he was synced up,” Roberts said. “Out of the stretch, he wasn’t as synced up as he would like. With that, the execution wasn’t where he wanted.”

Kershaw faced teammates Joc Pederson and Enrique Hernandez, as well as three Minor Leaguers. Russell Martin, who caught all 13 innings Friday night, caught Kershaw because he wasn’t starting Saturday night.

“My curveball started to get there at the end,” Kershaw said. “Slider getting there a little better. This was definitely better than the last one [in Anaheim on Monday], which is good.”

Kershaw pitched with a Rapsodo in front of home plate monitoring pitch metrics, and he said he’s trying to understand new technology and “not just discredit it. It’s been good.”

Kershaw followed the three innings with one more in the bullpen. Roberts said Kershaw will throw a regular bullpen session on Monday, then will join either Double-A Tulsa or Triple-A Oklahoma City for a four- or five-inning rehab start, depending on logistics and weather.

Both clubs play their season openers on Thursday, so he’ll get that Opening Day start after all.

“Yeah, woo-hoo,” Kershaw said.

Kershaw said a Minor League rehab game can’t duplicate a Major League game, but it helps “mimic” game situations.

“More intensity means pitching better,” Kershaw said. “More adrenaline. You don’t have to try as hard to generate things. That’s why I never like pitching on back fields in Spring Training, I always like pitching in games.”

Roberts said it hasn’t been determined whether Kershaw will need a second Minor League rehab start before rejoining the Dodgers' rotation.

Worth noting

• For Walker Buehler Bobblehead Night, presented by Bank of America, on Saturday night, the honoree to throw out the first pitch was a senior vice president of Bank of America, another guy by the name of Buehler -- Tony Buehler, Walker’s father. Similar build, similar quick-twitch motion and a pretty firm fastball ... for a banker.

“Bucket list, man, no other way to put it,” Tony Buehler said of the first-pitch opportunity on his son’s Bobblehead night.

Tony said he and Walker share a competitiveness gene, and the slight build never got in the way.

“We knew coming out of high school he had a shot, because he was pretty highly regarded,” the elder Buehler said. “But even now, it’s my kid. My kid. It’s every father’s dream. It’s amazing. When I think about it, I’m not a big guy, I was always the smallest one, but I always had that drive.

“So, I think that was partially instilled when he was a little kid. When he got to be 6-foot-2, even though he was 150 [pounds], he had that drive in everything he did. That’s part of his fabric, and it’s awesome to watch.”

• Home plate umpire Scott Barry, who left Friday night’s game at the start of the 12th inning after taking a 92.8 mph Matt Andriese fastball off the face mask in the 10th, will miss the rest of the series with whiplash symptoms. But an MRI ruled out serious injury, crew chief Brian Gorman said. Bill Welke joined the crew to take Barry’s spot.

• Left-hander Rich Hill’s strained left knee continues to improve, and Roberts said Hill might throw a bullpen session early next week.

• Roberts said infielders Justin Turner and Corey Seager will not start on Sunday. Both are healthy.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.