The Los Angeles Dodgers will soon be able to trot out their ace once again, as Clayton Kershaw is getting closer to returning to action. Kershaw threw a bullpen session yesterday, though the effort he put forth was described as “sub-maximal.” The training staff had Kershaw stop and start throughout the session in order to mimic the physical demands he may encounter throughout a typical start.
The Dodgers have done well without their star pitcher during his absence, getting quality starts from their starting rotation over the past few weeks. Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu have served as the frontline starters and, while the back end of the rotation has faced some difficulties, Dan Haren, Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm have all made excellent starts of late.
When Kershaw returns, one of either Beckett or Maholm will have to be moved out of the rotation. Each pitcher has had their share of ups and downs, with both making solid starts recently. It appears that a combination of factors will push Maholm into the bullpen, including the fact that Paco Rodriguez was sent down to Triple-A to make room for Brian Wilson. With Rodriguez in Albuquerque, the Dodgers have only one lefty in the bullpen, J.P. Howell.
Kershaw still has some time left in his recovery, but the results from the bullpen session were very promising. The performance of the starters in his absence has proven very valuable, as neither the Dodgers nor Kershaw felt any pressure to return too early. Kershaw’s absence should demonstrate the even if the Dodgers are faced with difficulties, they have the requisite depth to weather the storm.Tags: Baseball, Clayton Kershaw, Dan Haren, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Josh Beckett, Los Angeles, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB, Paul Maholm, Zack Greinke