Ker­shaw is push­ing it

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Andy McCul­lough andy.mccul­lough@la­times.com Twitter: @McCul­loughTimes

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.”

Cin­grani ar­rives

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.”

McCarthy slowed

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.”

Short hops

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.

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