Kershaw is pushing it
Pitcher wants to be more aggressive in rehab for his injured back, but the Dodgers are trying to temper that.
ATLANTA — Dodgers manager Dave Roberts text messaged Clayton Kershaw on Thursday asking for an update on the left-hander’s rehabilitation from a lower back strain.
Roberts was waiting to hear back when he met with the media before his team faced the Atlanta Braves in a series finale at SunTrust Park.
Even so, Roberts reported only progress for Kershaw, who he said was pushing to throw off a mound soon.
“He’s more on the aggressive side, which is no surprise to any of us,” Roberts said. “We’re trying to temper that a little bit.
“When you hear Clayton wanting to do more and be more aggressive, that’s a good thing.”
Kershaw injured his back during a game at Dodger Stadium on July 23. The team has not announced a timetable for his return, although the initial prognosis was a four-to-six week absence. An examination of his back showed no damage to the disk he herniated last summer, the team has said.
The Dodgers do not want Kershaw to rush back and risk re-injury, as he did while trying to come back in 2016. Roberts said the team had not set a date for Kershaw to pitch off a mound again. Ker- shaw started to play catch only five days after the initial injury. He is expected to meet the team on Tuesday in Phoenix.
“I’m sure I’ll know more in the next day or two,” Roberts said. “But the good thing is he feels physically that he can do more.”
After the Dodgers acquired left-handed reliever Tony Cingrani from Cincinnati on Monday, general manager Farhan Zaidi mentioned how Cingrani would benefit from altering his approach. Cingrani had posted a 5.40 earned-run average for the Reds, despite striking out 24.2% of the batters he faced.
In informal conversations before Thursday, when Cingrani was activated, Dodgers officials relayed their hope that Cingrani would use his slider more. He had thrown his fastball 88.4% of the time this season, according to FanGraphs. The slider clocked in at only 2.4%.
“I’m very open to most things,” said Cingrani, who gave up three-run homer to the Braves’ Ozzie Albies in the ninth inning Thursday. “I’m not, like, set in my ways by any means. I definitely am hardheaded, but when the point is smart and brought up to you in a convincing way, and you’re like ‘Yep, that works,’ and it sounds right, you can’t disregard that. You’ve got to take it.”
Brandon McCarthy has not pitched for the Dodgers since July 20. On the 10-day disabled list because of blisters on his right hand, McCarthy will try to synchronize the upper and lower halves of his delivery, Roberts said.
McCarthy experienced mechanical glitches during his last four starts and struggled to command his pitches.
“In talking to our medical staff, physically he’s not synced up,” Roberts said. “And he feels that there’s still some things mechanically, and physically, that he needs to work through to give himself the best chance to have success in a major league game.”
Adrian Gonzalez went one for three for Oklahoma City in his first rehab game. ... To make room on the 40man roster for Cingrani, the Dodgers optioned pitcher Brock Stewart to triple-A Oklahoma City. … Roberts was not interested in discussing President Trump’s nomination of former Dodgers co-owner Jamie McCourt as the ambassador to France. … Yu Dar vish took a flight to New York on Thursday afternoon. He will start Friday against the Mets.