LOS ANGELES — A mere four days after he was forbidden from picking up a baseball, Clayton Kershaw played catch at Dodger Stadium.
When will Kershaw pitch in a game again? Only a handful of state secrets are more carefully guarded. The pitcher and Dodger officials have been hesitant to provide a timetable for recovery ever since Kershaw strained a muscle in his lower back Sunday.
Now that Kershaw is throwing again, Manager Dave Roberts acknowledged the left-hander will “probably” need less than the 4 to 6 weeks originally reported, absent any setbacks.
“It’s day-to-day,” Roberts said. “It’s been such a short time so (Kershaw’s) arm strength is obviously still there. Just kind of see how it progresses as he stretches it out, keeps his arm in shape. If his back responds well, he can continue to move forward.”
Kershaw was originally prescribed pain medication after meeting with a back specialist on Monday. He was instructed not to throw until he was symptom-free. The next day he was back in the Dodgers’ dugout, lightly tossing a baseball against a wall.
“I guess he’s asymptomatic,” Roberts said Friday. “For him to get the go-ahead to start playing catch again, that’s ahead of what we all anticipated.”
The tepid assertion begged an important follow-up: Does the manager trust Kershaw to report his symptoms truthfully?
“I’d like to say I trust all my players,” Roberts said. “He is an elite baseball player and players intrinsically have that in them, where they feel they can overcome adversity – they’re in a better spot physically or mentally than they might be. With Clayton’s eagerness to get back, we take it with a mild grain of salt.”
Kershaw got through two scoreless innings against the Braves before the injury forced him from the game. He said the first sign of pain came while throwing his final warm-up pitch of the second inning. The Dodgers believe the injury is less serious than the herniated disk that cost…