Clayton Kershaw may be closer to returning to the Los Angeles Dodgers than previously thought. The left-hander threw a bullpen session on Friday, the first step to getting him back into the starting rotation.
The Dodgers have an open spot in their rotation Sunday against the Reds, with starter Aaron Harang expected to get the nod over Class AAA Pacific Coast League triple crown winner John Ely. But with Kershaw throwing a bullpen Friday, he could be a candidate to pitch, assuming he is pain free.
Kershaw was diagnosed with a right hip impingement, and while he could pitch without doing further damage to his hip, the left-hander needs to throw without pain.
"It has to be the medical people saying he's passed every test and cleared every hurdle," said manager Don Mattingly. "It's an organizational decision, not my decision. Does it make sense? A guy with his upside, they're not going to leave that decision only in my hands."
If Kershaw can pitch Sunday, he could potentially be on schedule to pitch three of the Dodgers' final 10 games of the season, on regular rest. But the decision won't be rushed into.
"It's all about the timetable," Mattingly said. "We'll see how he bounces back tomorrow."