Earlier in the week, Kershaw was “gearing toward” making his return from the injured list on Sunday. But some fatigue after his most recent start prompted the Dodgers to give Julio Urias an extra day off before his next start. He will start on Sunday now, following Kershaw.
“I think for us it’s just more of letting Clayton get on more of a regular turn, rotation, rhythm and then giving Julio an extra day,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said.
“I think it was just a combo of not having Clayton take two extra days off, for one. And then where we are in the middle of the season, Julio has made all of his starts, to give him an extra day – the net just made a lot of sense.”
Kershaw made his lone rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga last Sunday and will be on five days of rest when he faces the San Francisco Giants on Saturday. It will be his first big-league start since he shut out the Chicago Cubs for seven innings on May 7.
That ran the three-time Cy Young Award winner’s record to 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA. But he suffered lower back pain after the long flight back from that road trip and went on the IL with sacroiliac inflammation. An epidural was slow to take effect but Kershaw pronounced himself “ready to go” after the start with Rancho Cucamonga.
Urias, meanwhile, has a 3-5 record to go with a 2.78 ERA after 11 starts. He has thrown 58⅓ innings and fewer than 90 pitches in all but his past two starts (when he threw 91 and 90). But the stretch of 31 games in 30 days that ended Monday took its toll on the pitching staff, Roberts said.
“That was a lot of the driver,” Roberts said. “Coming off what we went through, it’s important. Fortunately for these guys (the starting pitchers), I think their next starts, they’re going to get another one or two days going forward. That was a tough one. So to get through it, we feel pretty good about it.”
Injured left-hander Andrew Heaney made his second rehab start with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Thursday. Heaney went 4⅓ scoreless innings, retiring 12 of the 14 batters he faced. He allowed two hits and struck out five.
Over his two rehab starts, Heaney has allowed one run and four hits while striking out 10 and walking none in 7⅓ innings. Opposing hitters are 4 for 25 against him.
Roberts said the plan now is for Heaney to make a third rehab start on Tuesday with Double-A Tulsa (because of travel logistics) and stretch out to “five, five-plus (innings) and then we’ll see where we go from there.”
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