Clayton Kershaw landed on the 15-day injured list a week ago, and it doesn’t seem his return is imminent. Manager Dave Roberts told Dani Wexelman of MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM this afternoon that Kershaw was likely still a couple weeks from throwing a bullpen session (via Jon Morosi of MLB.com).
When Kershaw first went on the IL, there’d been optimism he could return after a minimal stint. The club wasn’t ruling out the three-time Cy Young winner from throwing a bullpen session this week, and there seemed a chance he’d avoid a minor league rehab appearance. Kershaw felt continued soreness while playing catch, however, meaning the progression will take longer than initially hoped.
It seems the earliest Kershaw will throw a bullpen session is now at the beginning of June. He’ll probably need multiple sessions before progressing to game action, and nearly a month will have passed since the time of his IL placement. That long a layoff probably necessitates a minor league appearance or two before Kershaw’s able to make it back to Dodger Stadium. With that in mind, mid-June would seem to be a rough target date for his possible return.
It still doesn’t seem the organization is too concerned, as Roberts said earlier this week that Kershaw would continue lightly throwing. His current injury is inflammation of the right SI joint in his hip, which is obviously less concerning than a possible arm issue would’ve been. Kershaw’s 2021 season was cut short by forearm/elbow concerns, but he avoided surgery and returned to the Dodgers on a one-year, $17MM deal over the winter.
Before the injury, the eight-time All-Star continue to dominate opposing hitters. He’s worked 30 innings across five starts, posting a 1.80 ERA. Despite no longer possessing high-end velocity, Kershaw has struck out an excellent 29.4% of batters faced on the strength of a solid 12% swinging strike rate. He’s also only walked three of his 109 opponents on the season, maintaining his pristine command.
Kershaw is slated to be a free agent once again at the end of the year. His stint on the open market last winter seemed to come down to a return to L.A. or joining his hometown Rangers. If he finishes the season healthy, Kershaw would again be one of the best pitchers available, and it stands to reason both the Dodgers and Rangers would have continued interest in signing him.