Clayton Kershaw played catch for the first time since suffering a setback

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A few weeks ago, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw suffered a setback in his recovery from a lower back injury. He threw 60 pitches in a simulated game and later said he “didn’t feel right.” The next day, manager Dave Roberts said that back surgery was a “possibility” for Kershaw.

The Dodgers received some good news on Sunday as Kershaw played catch for the first time since that setback, MLB.com’s Jack Baer reports (no relation). Roberts wouldn’t commit to Kershaw returning in August, saying, “Whenever he feels ready to go, then we’ll pencil him in and get him going. All along, we’ve expected, and a little bit of it is being hopeful, but we expect him to make starts for us this year at some time.”

Given that Kershaw will still need to ramp up his throwing before going out on a rehab assignment, it does seem rather optimistic to think Kershaw would be back by the end of the month. The Dodgers are 62-49, one game behind the first-place Giants in the NL West. An early- or mid-September return would still allow him to make an impact on the pennant race.

Prior to the injury, Kershaw owned an MLB-best 1.79 ERA along with an 11-2 record and a 145/9 K/BB ratio in 121 innings.