Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw looked 'excellent' Monday in first pitching session in weeks

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<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/teams/la-dodgers/" data-ylk="slk:Dodgers">Dodgers</a> pitcher <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/mlb/players/8180/" data-ylk="slk:Clayton Kershaw">Clayton Kershaw</a> took to the mound for the first time in weeks at spring training on Monday, and said he "felt great." (AP/Morry Gash)
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw took to the mound for the first time in weeks at spring training on Monday, and said he "felt great." (AP/Morry Gash)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw took to the mound briefly on Monday in Arizona, marking the first time he’s done so since he was shut down on Feb. 22 with shoulder inflammation.

Kershaw threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, off the mound – which pitching coach Rick Honeycutt described to the Los Angeles Times as “excellent.” He looked “freer and cleaner,” Honeycutt said, while only throwing at about 80 percent effort.

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“Felt great, yeah,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times. “It was another good day. And I’ll take that right now. So just keep moving forward from here and start building up.”

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Kershaw has opened the season on the mound for the Dodgers every year since 2010, marking the longest streak in team history. With just more than two weeks until opening day, however, the 30-year-old simply may not be ready to go in time.

Kershaw said had mixed feelings when asked if the historic streak was important to him.

“Yes and no, I guess,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times. “Yes because I’ve got a little streak going and just the history behind it is pretty cool. But no in the fact that it’s not worth just one game out of (many), so you got to kind of weigh that back and forth. Yes and no.”

Kershaw said he has a target date in mind to be fully healthy, but didn’t want to share it. He’s scheduled for a bullpen session later this week.

A lot can still happen between now and opening day, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts is open to just about anything at this point. He even floated the idea of Kershaw pitching an abbreviated outing on opening day — though there is absolutely no reason to rush the star pitcher back to the mound when he’s not ready.

“We’re not going to close the door right now,” Roberts told the Los Angeles Times.

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