PHOENIX — After Clayton Kershaw threw a three-inning simulated game in San Francisco on Tuesday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts laid out a tentative plan for how and when the left-hander would return to the Dodgers’ starting rotation.
Kershaw would throw another simulated game, stretching out to four innings and 50 to 60 pitches, on Sunday in Arizona, Roberts said. Then he would likely rejoin the Dodgers to start next Saturday against the Angels at Dodger Stadium.
That plan has gotten a little fuzzy now with Roberts hedging on whether Kershaw will throw Sunday due to “residual soreness” that followed Tuesday’s workout.
“I wish I had that definitive answer,” Roberts said Saturday when asked if Kershaw was still going to throw the sim game on Sunday. “I think we’re going to get through today and see where he’s at tomorrow to see if that plan stays as is. I can’t confirm that. That’s our plan. But until he gets through it and does it, I can’t confirm.
“There’s no hard date for him to have to throw tomorrow. So we’re just leaving it in his and the training staff’s hands.”
Roberts said the “residual soreness” is just a carryover from the approximately 45-pitch sim game in San Francisco and is not specifically related to the elbow inflammation that sent Kershaw to the Injured List four weeks ago.
“(It’s) not a setback,” Roberts said. “But if we want to move forward, we would like the soreness to be not an issue.”
Roberts said, “I think we’ll know more after tomorrow” about whether August 7 is a realistic date for Kershaw’s return.
“Again, the main thing with Clayton is to get him back so he stays back for the duration and through the postseason,” Roberts said. “So right now, there’s no hard date or deadline.”
Mookie Betts is expected to come off the IL on Sunday. The hip issue that sent him to the IL has improved significantly, he said.
“Everything’s good to go. Just have to keep an eye on the hip and we should be fine,” he said Saturday.
The Dodgers have also had to keep an eye on Betts’ lower back and left shoulder this season, injuries he called “nagging things” that have held him back this season. Betts said this is the first season where he’s been plagued by so many physical issues.
“I wish it would have came from I ran into a wall or something instead of out of nowhere. It would have made more sense,” he said. “But it is what it is. You just have to deal with it. … The training staff has done a great job in helping get me to where I am now.”
Betts acknowledged that Roberts has talked to him about playing second base when he returns (though not likely Sunday) much as Cody Bellinger played first base instead of center field in his first two games back from a hamstring injury.
“There’s definitely been some discussion, just trying to limit the miles,” Betts said.
Betts came up in the Boston Red Sox’s farm system as an infielder then moved to the outfield with Dustin Pedroia blocking him at the major-league level. He has played 17 games at second base in the major leagues, 14 of them during his rookie season in 2014.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman acknowledged he was “spooked … for a second” by reports mid-day Thursday that the San Diego Padres were “close” to acquiring Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals, not the Dodgers.
Padres GM A.J. Preller was asked about that report after Friday’s trade deadline passed and said he never thought he was close to making a trade with the Nationals.
“Obviously it was not an accurate report,” Preller said. “We hadn’t heard from the Nats in, I don’t know, probably seven or eight hours at that point. It was not a situation where we were on the 2-yard line or anything like that.
“You see a report like that — I think from our standpoint we knew that it wasn’t accurate. Then you kind of start thinking about what that means. But it wasn’t a situation where we were right there with a chance to complete the deal. It didn’t feel like that.
“Ultimately, we were in the room working on other things and really hadn’t been at that spot where we were talking to them that closely. So you see that report come out, it was not something from a completion of a deal standpoint … it wasn’t that type of situation.”
Right-hander Tony Gonsolin went on the IL Saturday with shoulder inflammation. Gonsolin spent the first two months of the season on the IL with a shoulder injury and didn’t look completely healthy at times after he returned — including Friday night when he walked five of the 11 batters he faced in his abbreviated start.
After the game, Gonsolin admitted his shoulder “has its days where it doesn’t feel great. But for the most part, it feels good on game day.”
In other roster moves Saturday, the Dodgers added left-hander Garrett Cleavinger and right-hander Edwin Uceta from Triple-A and officially added Scherzer to the active roster. Outfielder Luke Raley and right-hander Brusdar Graterol were sent to Triple-A.
Scherzer joined the Dodgers at Chase Field before Saturday’s game and played catch in the outfield briefly. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday with an eye towards making his first start for the Dodgers on Wednesday.
Dodgers (LHP Julio Urias 12-3, 3.54 ERA) at Diamondbacks (LHP Caleb Smith 3-7, 4.61 ERA) Sunday 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, 570 AM