Dodgers’ ace Clayton Kershaw is set to rejoin the big league squad either on Sunday when the team takes on Milwaukee or on Monday against Cincinnati. The return will happen so long as Tuesday’s rehab start in Tulsa goes according to plan.
Kershaw’s return to the Dodgers’ roster has been a long time in the making. His ailment, discomfort in his throwing shoulder, arose in the opening week of spring training when the superstar lefty, “didn’t feel quite right,” according to manager Dave Roberts.
Roberts told media that same day that Kershaw’s status was unknown and the severity of the injury was not yet available to both media and the Dodgers’ staff as Kershaw would not ever get an MRI.
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As spring training slowly made its way towards the regular season and the excitement that comes with opening day grew closer, one thing became certain: Kershaw would not be ready for an opening day start.
Progressively getting better from the mystery shoulder injury Kershaw got closer and closer to playing against actual hitters in a real game situation.
That game happened last week when Kershaw made his first start of the year on minor league opening day with the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
There he looked good. The strikeout numbers were high and the velocity was low sitting in the 88-91 miles per hour range on his four-seamer. On a steady decline over the last few seasons, the lack of speed on Kershaw’s heater came as no surprise.
So, successful and healthy after the OKC outing, the Dodgers have opted to send Kershaw on one more rehab assignment. This one will take place in Double-A Tulsa due to favorable weather conditions over the ones that Kershaw would have seen with Triple-A.
The 31-year-old southpaw is scheduled to throw either six innings or 90 pitches in the Tuesday evening appearance with the Dodgers’ farm team. Those pitch restraints should put him on track to be completely unrestricted in his return to the bigs.
Residually, Kershaw’s return will bring some new shape to a roster that has gotten off to a scorching hot start in 2019.
Upon returning to the roster, Kershaw will bump young lefty Julio Urias to the bullpen where he will spend time in the big leagues on an innings limit. Urias will still make his regularly scheduled start this Friday but will subsequently become a bullpen option.
To clear space for Kershaw, the Dodgers can either option Dennis Santana to Triple-A or DFA Yimi Garcia: the two most likely roster moves in correspondence to Kershaw IL activation.
For the Dodgers, the return of Kershaw is simply another building block on the monstrous tower that has been this team to start the season. The roster has scored the fifth most runs in a team’s first ten games since 1900 and the most by any team since 2000. Bringing back they’re ace will only make them better.