Zack Greinke throws first mound session since calf strain

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Zack Greinke has already been ruled out for the Dodgers’ season-opening series in Sydney, Australia (March 22-23) due to a mild right calf strain that he suffered on the second-to-last day of February.

But the right-hander could be ready to rock for the club’s first game back in the United States.

According to MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, Greinke threw off a mound Wednesday afternoon in Dodgers camp for the first time since leaving his Cactus League debut with that strained calf. Greinke is scheduled to throw off a mound again on Thursday and could return to the Dodgers’ spring rotation next week.

Greinke, who made it known last month that he was not excited for the Dodgers’ Australian trip, will presumably be a candidate to pitch March 30 in San Diego. That’s the Padres’ regular-season opener.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.