LA Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won’t be quite ready to go after break

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> The Dodgers rotation still won’t feature Clayton Kershaw on the other side of the All-Star break. Not the first turn through, at least. But manager Dave Roberts didn’t rule out the prospect of the ace returning the second turn through. The left-hander made a significant stride toward his return on Sunday afternoon with a “light” bullpen session of 20 to 25 pitches, marking the first time he has thrown off the mound since being placed on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his lower back.“To see Clayton in a pen, throwing off a mound is definitely encouraging,” Roberts said. Bud Norris will start in his place at the front end of the rotation in the interim, and is slated to take the mound against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday, the same day Kershaw will be eligible to be activated from the DL. Brandon McCarthy, Kenta Maeda, Scott Kazmir and Hyun-jin Ryu will follow in order.Dodger starters have struggled to pitch deep into games in Kershaw’s absence, taking a toll on an overworked bullpen. Maeda, who did so Sunday against the Padres, was the only one to pitch seven innings since Kershaw on June 20.Norris did prove to be a quality replacement, if only temporarily, earning the win in his first start for the Dodgers with six shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies on July 1 after being acquired from the Atlanta Braves.Extra rest pays offWhen Roberts told Adrian Gonzalez he would have a day off during the four-game series on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates in late-June, the first baseman ended up having two. And that extra day turned out to be all the difference. The first baseman has gone 20 for 44 (.455) since then, reversing the 16-for-85 (.188) slide he was having in June up until that time off. He’s driven in 11 runs over that same stretch.“I kept tinkering with things and kept trying to get everything right,” he said. “I’ve found a pretty good place.”Gonzalez said having those two days off made a “big” difference in allowing him to start making adjustments in his approach at the plate.“He’s been there, done that,” Roberts said. “He’s a streaky guy, but there’s no panic. He’s a pro.”Gonzalez, who took San Diego Padres starter Christian Friedrich deep in the fifth inning of Sunday’s 3-1 win for his seventh home run of the season and his first since June 11, said he’s looking forward to the four days off with the league on a brief summer hiatus for the 2016 All-Star Game.At the breakThe Dodgers sit six games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West with a 51-40 record at the end of the unofficial first half of the season. They were 51-39 heading into the 2015 All-Star break and 54-43 at the same point in 2014.“I’m encouraged,” Roberts said. “The effort that we’ve played with the first half has been very good.”AlsoJulio Urias, who was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City last week, pitched a scoreless seventh inning of relief on Sunday. He surrendered one hit while notching one strikeout in the outing. It’s possible the 19-year-old, highly-coveted prospect could make his return in a relief role for the Dodgers, according to Roberts, who said it was an “option” on Saturday. … Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully took Sunday’s game off. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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