While the Los Angeles Dodgers are looking to improve their roster at the MLB trade deadline on Friday, they also stand to benefit from the eventual returns of Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Knebel and Gavin Lux in the coming weeks.
Betts figures to be first to return from that group, and he made considerable progress in the recovery from right hip inflammation during a pregame workout with Dodgers trainers on Tuesday at Oracle Park.
“Today was his best day in the last couple weeks, which is obviously encouraging for everyone,” manager Dave Roberts said.
“I think the first day for him to come off (the injured list) is on Sunday in Arizona, so my assumption is we’ll just continue to ramp up the agilities, body movements, rehab, whatever it takes to get him ready for Sunday. But [Tuesday] was certainly very encouraging.”
Betts’ stint on the 10-day injured list was retroactive to July 22, which makes him eligible to be reinstated for the series finale at Chase Field. After aggravating the hip issue on July 17, Betts only made a pinch-hit appearance two nights later before eventually being put on the IL.
The Dodgers were hopeful to avoid needing to make such a move and continued to play with a short bench while giving Betts every opportunity to return. “He started trying to crank it up a little bit today and wasn’t sure if by Tuesday he would be ready to go,” Roberts explained on Sunday.
“So I think at that point it just made our decision that much easier. We tried to kick it down the road and wait as long as we could, but at some point we had to make a decision. That point was [Sunday] at about noon.”
Kershaw faces batters
On the IL since July 7 with left forearm inflammation, Kershaw played catch for several consecutive days last week and built up to throwing against batters on Tuesday.
“It went well. Threw three innings, faced (Luke) Raley and (Sheldon) Neuse. Fastball, breaking ball, threw some changeups, curveball, slider,” Roberts said. “Came out of it feeling good. Kind of finished in the weight room. … I think the stuff was good to the eye. Most importantly, he felt good coming out of it, physically and mentally.”
Roberts added the Dodgers will evaluate to see how Kershaw is feeling on Wednesday before deciding the next course of action.
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