Clayton Kershaw threw what was said to be a "good" bullpen session on July 22 with the Los Angeles Dodgers in Texas to face the Rangers. His next scheduled session was for Monday prior to the team's home game against the Toronto Blue Jays, but it was canceled the day before.
On Sunday before the series finale against the Rangers, manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw would not be taking the next step in his rehab process for Monday's session, that there was no timetable for when Kershaw would log another session or face live hitters, and that nothing was wrong with his shoulder, which has kept him out of action since June 28.
Then, on Monday, Roberts said Kershaw is scheduled for Tuesday bullpen session "unless something changes." But what changed between Saturday and Sunday? And what might change between Monday and Tuesday if nothing is apparently wrong?
Roberts told reporters before Sunday's game that the decision "came down to when they want to activate [Kershaw] with the off days in August, rather than any discomfort."
But what does that even mean? The original plan was for Kershaw to be activated in early August. Then it appeared his progress might've expedited that timeline. But now, looking ahead at the Dodgers' schedule, their first off day next month is August 14th. So is Kershaw returning in mid-August now?
Clayton Kershaw injury update: What is Dodgers manager Dave Roberts saying?
Technically we weren't wrong when we said fans should perhaps be worried when the injury initially occurred because Roberts very much sounded the same when delivering vague news to the media.
Kershaw was headed for a promising campaign, one that seemed like it would feature no health issues for the first time since 2015. Instead, he seems more in danger of approaching the 60-day IL status rather than experiencing an accelerated return. And it has gravely cost the starting rotation, which has been among the worst in the sport since he's been sidelined.
At the very least, after Roberts said he didn't know when Kershaw would throw his next bullpen session as he awaited news from the training staff, the left-hander got clearance the very next day. Additionally, he won't need a rehab start before returning to the Dodgers -- he'll be facing live hitters once the bullpen sessions get him over his next checkpoint in his throwing program.
Then again, it's hard to feel optimistic with how everything's transpired since the injury occurred on June 27, which makes the trade deadline even more paramount for the front office to hit a home run.