On the strength of his first minor-league rehab assignment, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (back) may be set to return to the big-league rotation. Earlier, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Kershaw would make more than one start in the minors, but ESPN LA's Mark Saxon reports that those plans could change.
On Friday night, Kershaw was very effective in his start for High-A Ranco Cucamonga: 5 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 6 K, 1 BB. Kershaw needed just 56 pitches to make it through those five frames, and along the way he notched a pair of six-pitch innings and a seven-pitch first inning. The only run came on a solo shot by Astros prospect Carlos Perdomo.
As Saxon notes, Mattingly on Friday night prior to Kershaw's outing said nothing's set regarding Kershaw's next start. Presumably, Kershaw's efficient outing increases the possibility that his next start will come this upcoming week against the Twins in Minnesota. Kershaw hasn't started for the Dodgers since dominating the Diamondbacks on March 22 in Australia.
Kershaw, who signed a seven-year, $215-million contract extension this past offseason, has reeled off four straight seasons of at least 200 innings and 200 strikeouts and ERAs no higher than 2.91. The 26-year-old lefty has two Cy Youngs to his credit.