Manager Don Mattingly didn't rule it out, nor in. He said Kershaw is "still in play" for Sunday, but Aaron Harang is still the listed starter on short rest. It's likely to be a pregame decision, as it was when Kershaw was scratched from a start in San Francisco on Sept. 9.
"I can't give you an answer. I don't have an answer," Mattingly said. "We haven't gotten the green light that we're all on go. The medical staff is in deep thought over there. When I know, I'll let you know.
"It's fair to say he's getting ready to pitch again. Just don't know when."
Mattingly confirmed, however, that the standings play a role in the decision. As long as the games matter, apparently, a Kershaw start in on the table.
The defending National League Cy Young winner and staff ace, annoyed with intrusive questioning about his health, spoke briefly to reporters.
"I'm preparing to start," he said. "Don't know when. Getting closer."
Kershaw, determined to pitch despite a right hip impingement that is likely to need offseason surgery, came out of his Friday 20-pitch bullpen session limber enough to run in the outfield. He stretched, did a normal non-throwing bullpen session on the mound and studied scouting reports and video of Reds hitters.
"I've definitely made some modifications [in his routine] because of the hip problem, but I'm keeping to it the best I can," he said. "Injuries aren't for anybody else to worry about but me."