Kershaw feels good in simulated game

Kershaw feels good in simulated game

LOS ANGELES -- With a crowd of coaches and trainers observing his every move, Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw threw a simulated game Friday as he continues his comeback from a separated right (non-throwing) shoulder.

Kershaw threw about 45 pitches over the course of three simulated innings against Blake DeWitt, Jason Repko and Chin-lung Hu.

Kershaw appeared in good spirits throughout the session and showed no ill effects from the injury.

Whether his bum right shoulder would affect his delivery was the main concern heading into his mound appearance, and Kershaw said that everything seemed in order.

"[Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt] was out there and he said everything kind of looked normal and I felt normal," Kershaw said. "So as far as the mechanics and stuff, I think everything went pretty well."

He also said that this was the first time he's missed a start in his professional career because of injury.

Because of the simulated game's positive outcome, the Dodgers now can move toward easing Kershaw (8-8, 2.89 ERA) back into the starting rotation.

Manager Joe Torre said Kershaw will throw a bullpen session on Sunday and then should make a relief appearance during the three-game series at Washington, which begins Tuesday.

He didn't say if Kershaw would make a start during the Dodgers' four-game trip to Pittsburgh (Sept. 25-28).

Torre said Kershaw didn't exhibit any rust in his first appearance against batters since his last start against the San Diego Padres on Sept. 4, when he allowed one earned run on four hits in six innings.

"He had real good command," Torre said. "A good part of it could be he wasn't trying to overthrow the ball. But I thought for being away as long as he's been away, I thought it looked pretty comfortable for him."

While his ability to throw no longer appears to be an issue, Kershaw's ability to field his position is still a question mark.

Grounders and line drives will test the dexterity of his right shoulder, but Kershaw said that he doesn't feel any discomfort in his arm. And he expressed confidence that his defense wouldn't be an issue.

"I'm sure if a ground ball comes, I'll be able to catch it," he said.

Another point of contention is when Kershaw will be able to hit without any concern.

Torre said that the benefit of having Kershaw come out of the bullpen first was that it "keeps him from having to worry about hitting."

"We haven't done it," Torre said. "And the more we can put that off, probably the better off we'll be."

David Ely is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.