Dodgers Roster: Clayton Kershaw Nearing Return to Starting Rotation

Although there hasn’t been much movement in the National League playoff race — at least from a Dodgers perspective — there could be a lot of news emerging as the calendar turns to September next week.

We’ve been discussing roster expansion for a while, and although there’s only room for one pitcher and one position player, the team could be jockeying a few roster spots to make room for some big-name players.

At the onset of the weekend, we heard that everything looks good for veteran Clayton Kershaw. The lefty threw a three-inning simulated appearance earlier in the week and is expected to toss a similar four-inning outing on Saturday in Miami.

If everything feels good afterwards, Kershaw could start on September 1 against the Mets in the series finale New York, as manager Dave Roberts indicated this week.

“It’s either the option of regular rest, which would be Thursday,” Roberts said. “Or an extra day, which would be Friday. We haven’t decided which yet, but it’s probably going to be one of those two.”

As it stands, it appears that Los Angeles could go with a six-man rotation the rest of the way, allowing the starting pitchers to stay fresh without shutting them down completely — as long as everyone’s health holds up.

Seemingly, the team could face a decision as to who would be the postseason starters between Kersh, Tony Gonsolin, Julio Urias, Dustin May, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney by the time the playoffs roll around.

Typically, the Dodgers would bump one or two of the extra starters into the bullpen, but the relief corps might be in for some overcrowding of its own.

The last we heard, Blake Treinen continues to throw well in his rehab stint for Triple-A Oklahoma City. There have been a few whispers that the big righty could be activated as soon as September 2.

If Kershaw gets the 27th spot and a position player gets the 28th spot, that means that someone will either need to get placed on the injured list or bumped off the roster entirely to make room for Treinen. One of the first names that comes to mind is Phil Bickford, particularly for a stint on the IL.

In addition, Victor Gonzalez and Tommy Kahnle are progressing through rehab assignments of their own, but whether they have enough time to get up to speed before season’s end remains to be seen.

Roberts has been especially impressed with Gonzalez.

“He’s bouncing back, the stuff is good,” the skipper said. “Everything I’ve heard about Victor has been real positive.”

3 thoughts on “Dodgers Roster: Clayton Kershaw Nearing Return to Starting Rotation

  1. Treinen may not be as close as we had hoped. He pitched 1/3 inning last night and gave up 3 hits, a walk and 2 runs. Also, his velocity is apparently not quite back yet, so they may not rush him. As long as he’s ready by about mid September, he should be able to ramp up for the post season.

    VGon may be the closest to returning.

    Assuming Urias, Gonsolin, Anderson, Kershaw, May and Heaney are all on the playoff roster (no matter who starts and who comes out of the bullpen), that would leave 7 other spots for pitchers.

    I think that, barring injury, Phillips, Ferguson and Vesia are assured of spots.
    Graterol is probably also pretty definite, again barring injury.

    That leaves 3 more spots from amongst Kimbrel, Price, Bickford, Reed, Pepiot and Bruihl (all of whom are healthy at present)
    and Almonte, Martin, Kahnle, VGon, Treinen and Duffy (all of whom are on the IL at present).

    If healthy, I’d like to see Almonte, VGon and Treinen get those 3 spots, but I’m somewhat doubtful about Almonte’s getting back in time so the last spot would probably go to either Kimbrel or Price.

    That’s a pretty strong pitching staff if everyone pitches up to their potential, something that can never be assured at playoff time.

    1. I assumed Kershaw would go 5 innings or 75 pitches in a rehab start somewhere against live hitters. 4 innings in a simulated game? Well, if he says he’s ready, no reason not to believe him.

      6 man rotation. About time.

      Dodgers made 3 errors last night, not one.

      We got shut down by an excellent pitcher. Fortunately we won’t see any more the rest of the way. Right?

      Who you got in today’s big game? I’ll take Hawaii.

    2. The problem of course is that Kahnle, Treinen, vgon and Duffy are not on the 40 man, which means 4 dfa’s. Don’t think Kahnie or Duffy have any chance so 2 dfa’s. So that would be Bruihl and Reed or Bickford. Not very excited about Kersh coming back for post season, except maybe in the bullpen.

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