LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw is one step closer to a return with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Kershaw pitched a four-inning simulated game Saturday, raising the possibility that he could be back in their rotation next week.
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been on the disabled list nearly a month with left biceps tendinitis.
Asked if he should be able to go in five days, Kershaw said: "Yeah, I should be."
Kershaw got up and down, mirroring game conditions, and pitched to Cody Bellinger, Chase Utley, Austin Barnes and Enrique Hernandez.
Kershaw is 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA this season.
It's not certain he'll pitch in five days, when the Dodgers play Philadelphia in the finale of a 10-game homestand.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who watched the workout with Andrew Friedman, the team's president of baseball operations, wants to see how Kershaw feels before determining when and where he will pitch next.
Roberts had not yet talked to Kershaw before speaking with reporters.
"That's really encouraging," Roberts said after learning Kershaw said he should be ready to be back in the rotation. "For us, we've still got to talk through some things and make sure the right situation is for Kersh. A lot of it depends on how he feels (Sunday) and how things play out. Having him pitch today, feeling good coming off the mound, a lot of positives."
Through this stint on the disabled list, Kershaw found himself examining his mechanics.
"You never should focus on mechanics when you're competing. That's what the in between is," Kershaw said. "I've never really been a mechanics guy. The past few weeks I've been working on it a little bit. It's probably the first time that I can remember that I really focused on it."
Kershaw declined to explain what motivated him to focus on mechanics.
The 30-year-old left-hander was positive about where he's at now.
"It's so hard to tell. Been working on little stuff here and there," Kershaw said. "You start focusing on getting hitters out and you stop thinking about your mechanics. Start worrying about trying to get people out. Hopefully muscle memory is ingrained in there. Felt a little bit better today."
Kershaw hadn't felt as positive following his previous bullpen, but he was encouraged Saturday.
"You can't simulate a big league game. All the things you do to prepare to pitch a big league game, you really don't know where you're at until you're in one," Kershaw said.
"You do all you can to prepare. Ultimately, the only way to figure out if you're ready or not is to face guys. I feel like I didn't lose a whole lot from where I was but worked on a lot these last few weeks to try to get better and try to get healthy."
The Dodgers, who were one win away from the World Series title last year, are below .500.
"Being on the DL is no fun. Thankful that it wasn't too incredibly long," Kershaw said. "Just to be able to get back out there. You don't feel a part of the team a whole lot when you're on the DL. It's good to be out there and hopefully help a little bit."
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