Even though the Dodgers are cruising along just fine, achieving 90 wins by the date of August 24th — a feat only two other teams in history have accomplished — and having a 13 game lead on the next closest MLB team in the Houston Astros, the club still has some of its key players on the disabled list.
The most important player is getting much closer to coming back. Clayton Kershaw will be making a start at Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday, his first stint ever with OKC. He is coming off two sim games, the most recent a 55 pitch outing in Pittsburgh on Monday. Although Kershaw has wanted to return to the starting rotation sooner, the Dodgers have tempered that by going with the slow and steady route, for the goal is to be healthy for the playoff run, and not just to be back as soon as possible. Kershaw landed on the DL July 24 with a lower back strain.
Cody Bellinger was placed on the disabled list on Aug 22, retroactive to the 20th, due to a right ankle sprain. He told David Vassegh he had no pain in his ankle during batting practice. The Dodgers tried to avoid placing him on the DL, but recognized the need for more rest for the star rookie’s ankle.
Alex Wood was placed on the DL the same day, with SC joint inflammation. This is the same injury that landed Wood on the disabled list earlier in the season. Per David Vassegh, Wood believes his next start will be in the San Diego series that starts Sept 1, and includes a double header on the 2nd.
Sunday appears to be the day that Yu Darvish will return from his 10 day DL stint, after being placed on it with lower back stiffness. Darvish has used to time working on his mechanics and pitch mix, according to Dave Roberts. One can hope that maybe he worked a little on his batting, after he had a swing like this in his last game:
Brandon McCarthy is slated to start for the Single-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes tonight. It will be his first time on the mound since July 20, as he was placed on the DL July 24th with a blister. He was the first to break the news, seemingly, replying to Chad Moriyama with this:
Scott Kazmir has been hanging out in Arizona still, trying to figure why he has such a lack of velocity. He remains throwing only in simulated games, and there is no timetable for any rehab starts.
A man making many rehab starts is Andre Ethier. He started in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga for a few games, then spent five games with the Double-A Tulsa, where he went 3-for-17 with five RBI. He now moves up to Triple-A OKC, where he will play with Kershaw once again. It is unclear if the Sept 1 target return date floated by the Dodgers still is in line, or if he will need more time after that to join the team.
As they say, the rich get richer, the strong get stronger, pick any cliche saying you’d like, really. The jauggernaut that is the 2017 is about to return to full strength, and if you weren’t scared of them before, you should be now.
(FOLLOW ANDY ON TWITTER: @DODGERSANDYINPA)