Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was expected to make one more minor-league rehab start, but instead he’s coming back to the bigs on Saturday night to face the Mets in Citi Field.
Kershaw’s expected rehab start was with Triple-A Oklahoma City, but that game was on the road against Omaha and it’s raining there. Rather than risk something going physically awry in a rehab start, the Dodgers just decided to throw Kershaw back into the proverbial fire.
Of course, it is against the Mets, who are 7-22 in the last month. So maybe it’ll be a soft landing for Kershaw anyway.
Kershaw, 30, is 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA (139 ERA+), 1.12 WHIP and 53 strikeouts against 11 walks in 49 innings this season. He to this point hasn’t looked like a three-time Cy Young winner but instead just a very good pitcher. There’s nothing wrong with that, and his presence will only help the banged-up Dodgers’ rotation.
The Dodgers enter Friday night 38-35 and two games back in the NL West. They were on fire before these last few games, as they’ve lost three of four following a stretch where they went 11-2.
With Kershaw and Rich Hill now off the disabled list, the rotation is as follows:
Los Angeles ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw will be activated from the disabled list and start Saturday night’s game against the New York Mets, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced Friday.
Kershaw, who is returning from a back injury, was initially scheduled to make a rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Oklahoma City. But Kershaw lobbied to skip the minor league assignment and expected rain for the contest in Omaha, Neb., helping lead to the decision to have the three-time Cy Young Award winner start against the Mets.
“We’re going to keep him here with us,” Roberts told reporters prior to Friday’s game. “With the weather uncertainty in Omaha, to make his start (in New York) is probably the best thing for him and for us. We don’t know how much he’s going to pitch. Obviously, there is a limitation with him.
“Yeah, there’s weather (expected in New York). As I understand it, there’s a potential delay, but we’ll be mindful of it. We’re not going to do anything to put him in harm’s way.”
Kershaw will oppose Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who leads the majors with a 1.51 ERA entering Friday.
Kershaw had made just one big league start since May 1. He went on the DL with biceps tendinitis and returned on May 31, but left after five innings against the Philadelphia Phillies due to a strained lower back.
That led to the 30-year-old’s fourth career DL stint caused by a back injury, including one in each of the last three seasons.
Kershaw tossed a three-inning simulated game in Chicago on Monday prior to the decision that he would pitch Saturday in Oklahoma City.
Kershaw is just 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA in eight starts this season.
The Dodgers will make a corresponding move Saturday upon activating Kershaw from the DL.
Kershaw has been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP originally was scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but rain in the forecast caused the Dodgers to change plans.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts says Friday that Kershaw will be limited against the Mets, with rookie left-hander Caleb Ferguson ready in reserve. The 21-year-old Ferguson had been slated to start Saturday.
There’s rain in the New York forecast Saturday as well, but Roberts says the Dodgers feel more comfortable keeping Kershaw with the big league club.
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The ace left-hander will skip a scheduled rehab start and instead will start for Los Angeles on Saturday against the Mets in New York.
Kershaw hasn’t pitched in a live-game situation since May 31 because of a tight back. He threw a three-inning simulated game at Wrigley Field on Monday, and a day later, manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw would make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City this weekend.
But the Dodgers felt that wasn’t needed.
Kershaw, who can opt out of his contract after the season, is 1-4 with a 2.76 ERA, the latter of which is his highest since 2010.
He’s thrown a total of five innings since May 1, with left biceps tendinitis hampering him, as well.
But the organization isn’t rushing him back to face major league hitters just yet.
Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reported Tuesday that Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts announced Kershaw will make a rehab start for the Oklahoma City Dodgers on Saturday, and the outing is expected to last four innings.
This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.
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