Clayton Kershaw progressing, expected to start for Dodgers next weekend

LOS ANGELES — When the Dodgers leave for Houston on Monday, Clayton Kershaw will be with them and he is expected to pitch next weekend in Arizona.

“Yeah, he’ll be with us,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said when asked if Kershaw would travel with the team. He also answered in the affirmative when asked if Kershaw was likely to start next weekend when he is eligible to come off the Injured List.

Kershaw went on the IL before his scheduled start in Thursday’s season-opener. The left-hander injured his back during a workout in the weight room on Tuesday. With a history of back problems in his past, the Dodgers did not want to force the issue.

“I was just working out and doing stuff that I’ve been doing for a long time … nothing new, nothing different just the same stuff that I’ve been doing basically the last year and a half,” Kershaw said of the injury. “Just one of those things. Obviously very frustrating, super disappointing I couldn’t be out there (to start the opener). But hopefully I’ll be back pretty quick.”

It appears he will be.

Kershaw began throwing on Friday, playing catch in the outfield before games and stretching out to 90 feet at first. Before Sunday’s game at Dodger Stadium, Roberts said Kershaw took that a step farther, throwing briefly off the bullpen mound. He is expected to throw a more lengthy bullpen session in Houston on Tuesday. That would put him on track to fold into the rotation and make his season debut during the Dodgers’ four-game series in Arizona beginning Thursday.

“The plan is on Tuesday we’ll get him off a mound again,” Roberts said. “He got off the mound actually today and threw about 15 pitches and it went well. We’re gonna do that again on Tuesday.”

The 32-year-old Kershaw has gone to the IL six times since 2016, most often for back injuries starting with a herniated disc in 2016.

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