Dodgers’ Rotation: What to Expect from Clayton Kershaw’s Return

As the Los Angeles Dodgers navigate their season, the potential return of Clayton Kershaw looms large. The veteran lefty is making progress following shoulder surgery, recently facing six hitters in a live bullpen session. Comparing his current state to early Spring Training, Kershaw plans to ramp up to two innings in his next bullpen session before beginning a rehab stint. If his recovery stays on track, Kershaw could return around the All-Star break.

Slotting into the Rotation

When Kershaw returns, he’ll join a rotation that’s already performing at a high level. With Tyler Glasnow, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and Gavin Stone pitching exceptionally well, and James Paxton holding steady, Kershaw might not slot into the top three immediately. Walker Buehler is also working his way back from surgery with high upside, and Landon Knack looks ready for a full-time rotation spot. This gives the Dodgers seven quality arms vying for starts.

Managing the Depth

The Dodgers are faced with a luxurious problem: an abundance of starting pitching talent. Managing their 40-Man roster to allow for this depth will require strategic rotation planning. Perhaps they will even decide to move to a six-man rotation to keep arms fresh. Spot starts, bullpen days, and possibly trading from this surplus to address other needs could be on the table. This depth not only provides insurance against injuries but also offers flexibility in managing workloads down the stretch.

Realistic Upside

Kershaw’s realistic upside remains high despite his recent surgery. Last season, even with shoulder troubles, he posted a stellar 2.46 ERA over 24 starts. Assuming he can regain his form, Kershaw could once again be a dominant force on the mound, giving the Dodgers a significant boost.

Kershaw, the Rotation Reinforcer?

The Dodgers can expect a significant boost from Kershaw’s return, slotting him into a prominent rotation role. If he can recapture his pre-surgery form, Kershaw’s upside remains substantial. However, careful management will be key to maximizing his impact and ensuring his health down the stretch. As the All-Star break approaches, all eyes will be on Kershaw’s progress and his ability to bolster the Dodgers’ rotation.

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