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Kershaw, Hill pitch in simulated game

Special to MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw got himself into a full lather on Saturday afternoon, worked both sides of the plate and grunted and groaned when his execution did not quite go his way.

In other words, his simulated game at Dodger Stadium to test his left biceps tendinitis had the feel and intensity of any regular-season Kershaw start. Kershaw was placed on the disabled list on May 6.

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LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw got himself into a full lather on Saturday afternoon, worked both sides of the plate and grunted and groaned when his execution did not quite go his way.

In other words, his simulated game at Dodger Stadium to test his left biceps tendinitis had the feel and intensity of any regular-season Kershaw start. Kershaw was placed on the disabled list on May 6.

View Full Game Coverage

Kershaw faced four teammates in a controlled four-inning game, the first time he had pitched to batters since May 1. Hitting against him were Chase Utley, Enrique Hernandez, Austin Barnes and Cody Bellinger.

Rich Hill, on the DL with a blister on the middle finger of his left hand, also pitched two innings of the simulated game with a protective covering on the affected digit.

Kershaw is the closer of the two to returning. There is an outside chance he could rejoin the Major League roster and pitch in five days against the Philadelphia Phillies. That scenario remains a long shot, but Kershaw thrives on challenges.

"We'll see. I'm not sure," Kershaw said when asked whether his next outing will be in a Minor League game or with the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts did not outline a firm plan either, but sounded more inclined to take a deliberate approach with the return of his staff ace.

"For us, we still have to talk through some things and just make sure it's the right situation for Kersh," Roberts said. "It depends on how he feels tomorrow and how things play out. But having him pitch today, feeling good coming off the mound, there were a lot of positives."

Kershaw said he felt just fine shortly after the outing, but he admitted that his ability to dominate big league hitters after nearly a month away remains unknown.

"Well, you can't simulate a big league game," Kershaw said. "All the things you do to prepare to pitch a big league game, until you're in one, you really don't know where you're at. You do all you can to prepare, but ultimately the only way to figure out if you're ready or not is to go face guys.

"I don't feel I lost a whole lot from where I was. I worked on a lot of stuff the past few weeks to try to get better, try to get healthy. I guess whenever I get to start, we'll see."

Roberts said Hill is expected to throw a bullpen session in a few days and then pitch in another simulated game. The Dodgers would need to see him pitch without the protective covering on his finger to see whether he is ready to rejoin the active roster, although Hill is trying to get the OK from Major League Baseball to use the finger protection.

"I think he's a ways away from that," Roberts said about Hill pitching without the finger protection. "I really can't speak to how long, but I still think we have to give it time to heal. So for him to keep his edge, to keep his arm in shape, that's important."

Video: SD@LAD: Margot reaches third on Puig's fielding error

Puig gets a day off
Roberts said his decision to not put Yasiel Puig in Saturday's lineup was a planned day off, but he also said bench coach Bob Geren talked to Puig after the outfielder's defensive gaffe in Friday's game.

Puig was tracking a hit from the speedy Manuel Margot in the third inning, looking to make a quick throw to second to try to prevent Margot from stretching a double. He bobbled the ball, then left it on the ground for a beat, appearing as if he was challenging Margot to go for third. Margot did, making it easily. Puig was charged with an error.

"I think he knew how I felt about it," Roberts said. "He knew that was a play that shouldn't have turned into a guy at third base and cost us a run. Like I said last night, he's just too good of a player to let something like that happen."

Maeda to get an extra day
The Dodgers did a little adjusting to their starting rotation. Roberts confirmed that Brock Stewart will start in Monday's series opener against the Phillies and Kenta Maeda will pitch Tuesday.

It means the red-hot Maeda will get a fifth day of rest after last pitching on Wednesday against the Rockies. Using a slower, more controlled delivery, Maeda has 20 strikeouts over his last two starts, going a career-best 111 pitches Wednesday. He earned the victory in both games.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw