LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clayton Kershaw was back on the Dodger Stadium mound Sunday — in a simulated game that was the next step in his recovery from a strained muscle in his upper back.
"Everything felt good, so that's a good step," The two-time Cy Young Award winner said following a 30-minute workout that was preceded by a brief bullpen session. "Hitters were kind of the next progression, so it was good to get some hitters in there and get some reactions. You get that little extra adrenaline with hitters in there."
Kershaw, who is on the disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career, threw 50 pitches from the windup and stretch, and reported no discomfort after topping out at 90 mph.
"Obviously, you can't simulate the adrenaline you have in a big league game, because that's where you get your extra velocity and stuff from. But as far as pitching at 10 a.m. in a sim game, that's all I've got," said Kershaw, who was monitored by manager Don Mattingly, pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and Stan Conte, the team's vice president of medical services.
The 26-year-old left-hander, who led the majors in ERA in each of the previous three seasons, hasn't pitched since beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1 in the season opener in Australia. He injured himself tossing on the side a few days later.
"All that still kind of feels gone, so I feel pretty normal," he said. "Now it's just a matter of building back up and getting ready to go. I assume (a rehab assignment) would probably be the next step, but I don't think we've gotten there yet. We're kind of waiting to see how I come out of it tomorrow."