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Kershaw's velocity up in bullpen session

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw threw a bullpen session Tuesday and showed his best velocity since being injured.

"We're getting close, it feels like," Kershaw said. "I'm sure they [management] have a timetable in mind that they don't want to tell me. I raise the ceiling every day. I don't want to get to the ceiling where I feel pain, but as close to it without being hurt."

Kershaw threw 26 pitches in what he called "somewhat close to a typical bullpen" session at AT&T Park, with manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt watching and athletic trainer Stan Conte monitoring velocity with an app.

Mattingly said Kershaw was clocked in the mid-80s and at one point, the manager stood in as an imaginary batter. Kershaw threw from the windup and the stretch.

"The ball was coming out pretty good," said Mattingly, who nonetheless tried to manage expectations. "We'll continue to be careful. He's slowly moving forward. He's optimistic, we're optimistic, but that doesn't mean there's a timetable. It seems to be going in the right direction. He feels encouraged. It's positive for him, but he still has to be careful."

This was Kershaw's second time off a mound. He said he would spin breaking balls on flat ground Wednesday and probably throw a bullpen session again Thursday.

Kershaw was injured Opening Night in Australia on March 22, suffering a strained teres major muscle, which stabilizes the upper arm with the upper back near the armpit.

He was placed on the 15-day disabled list with no announced time frame for a return, although the injury was expected to sideline him a month or longer. After being shut down for about a week, Kershaw has remained on a throwing program.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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