Dodgers not rushing Kershaw back

Ace could be activated for next weekend's series

Dodgers not rushing Kershaw back

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers haven't set a date for the return of ace Clayton Kershaw, but it won't be Thursday in Washington.

Manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw came out of his 60-pitch simulated game on Saturday healthy, but management apparently wants to avoid any chance of rushing him back from a slight disk herniation in his lower back and risk a re-injury.

Kershaw might return for next weekend's series in St. Louis, or the decision might be made to avoid two long flights and have him open the next homestand, which begins July 26 vs. the Rays. Another exam of his back also is likely to take place.

"If he feels well and the docs support it, that return on the road or at home, that decision will be made," said Roberts. "We're trying to give it a couple more days to see how he feels after the [simulated game] exertion, whether he feels refreshed, or sore and we have to adjust.

"Everything with Clayton is on the table. The thing is that after the live BP, we're just making sure he feels 100 percent ready to come back. When he does come back we want him to stay healthy, so we're being extra cautious like we would with all players. An extra day or two will give us more clarity. We've been reluctant to put a return date and we have to defer to his health."

Hyun-Jin Ryu, scheduled to pitch Wednesday, threw a bullpen session Sunday, as did Bud Norris, who is likely to start Thursday.

Roberts said Alex Wood, who threw a two-inning simulated game Saturday, will throw another one of 60 pitches. Brett Anderson will throw a two-inning simulated game Monday.

Roberts also said the club still expects to activate center fielder Joc Pederson from the disabled list Tuesday.

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.