The Los Angeles Dodgers are gearing up for a deep postseason run this MLB season, and they will soon get an important piece back in the rotation via Clayton Kershaw.
Kershaw, who has been out since leaving his start on July 23 with back pain, tossed a four-inning simulated game on Monday.
Dodgers team-mates Chase Utley and Kike Hernandez took some swings against seven-time All-Star Kershaw.
"He's getting close," manager Dave Roberts said, via MLB.com. "There's zero chance [of Kershaw starting for the Dodgers on Saturday instead].
"There's a level of intensity that continues to heighten, from bullpen to simulated game to Triple-A where you're competing. You continue to ramp up as far as intensity, and crossing that marker makes everyone feel better."
Kershaw – a three-time National League (NL) Cy Young Award winner and Triple Crown recipient – was an incredible 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA this season before his injury.
The Dodgers then added Yu Darvish before the July 31 trade deadline, but he too is sidelined with an injury.
While 2014 NL MVP and Gold Glove winner Kershaw understands the team's reason for being cautious with his return, the 29-year-old said he was ready to return over a week ago.
"Health-wise, I could have pitched in the big leagues 10 days ago. But that's not the plan, obviously," Kershaw said. "I don't feel I missed much time. I kept throwing all the way through. I guess it's the luxury we have as a team.
"You can't simulate a Major League game. You've just got to do it. Sim games are really hard. You try to create intensity, but you can't and it's really not a good recipe, but I guess it's what you have to do."
Roberts said Kershaw will make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. If all things go well, he will then return to the rotation.
|Vince helps England continue fine start|
|Thunder roll as Westbrook goes off against Warriors, Cavs win|
|Kiwis would consider Bennett as coach|
|Meninga unhappy with Aussie preparations ahead of World Cup semi|
|Federer congratulates Basel after Man Utd scalp|
|Heat snap Celtics´ 16-game winning streak|
|Spurs star Leonard has unique issue, Popovich says|
|England steady after early Cook loss in Brisbane|
|Gremio 1 Lanus 0: Cicero gives Brazilians advantage in Libertadores final|
|Hazard: I admire Madrid, but I´m happy at Chelsea|
|Neuer or De Gea? Digne says Ter Stegen is world´s best keeper|
|Allegri satisfied with draw against ´extraordinary´ Barcelona|
|Nainggolan reaffirms Roma commitment after Simeone praise|
|Chiefs sign veteran CB Revis|
|England choose to bat as Warner, Marsh cleared to play for Australia|
|Beathard, not Garoppolo, named 49ers starter v Seahawks|
|Simeone hails Griezmann´s ´extraordinary´ volley|
|Emery hails Neymar after stunning Celtic win|
|Freeney joins Lions day after being cut by Seahawks|
|Championship Review: Wolves thrash 10-man Leeds, Middlesbrough cruise|
|Goncharenko delighted for clean sheet star Akinfeev|
|I hope Barcelona rest Messi – Jesus|
|Broncos name Lynch starting QB for Raiders game|
|Thiago suffered a serious injury, says Heynckes|
|Valverde explains decision to bench Messi|
|Coleman the latest to join Rebels revolution|
|LeBron: Defensive consistency key to Cavs winning streak|
|Bills revert to Tyrod Taylor as starting QB after Nathan Peterman disaster|
|Absent Stokes wishes England well|
|Iniesta hails ´splendid´ Ter Stegen as Barcelona seal last-16 spot|
|Griezmann shrugs off goalless streak after wonderstrike keeps Atletico´s hopes alive|
|We should have been 5-0 up – Mourinho unimpressed with wasteful United|
|Toure reveals Guardiola anger with City´s Feyenoord display|
|Warriors star Durant says he will play against Thunder|
|Paris Saint-Germain set Champions League scoring record in Celtic rout|
|Sporting CP 3 Olympiacos 1: Dost on target as hosts stay in contention|
|Bielsa suspended by struggling Lille|
|Anderlecht 1 Bayern Munich 2: Lewandowski and Tolisso give visitors win|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Roma 0: Griezmann returns to form with wondergoal|
|Basel 1 Manchester United 0: Late Lang goal leaves Mourinho´s men with work to do|
|Paris Saint-Germain 7 Celtic 1: Cavani and Neymar score braces in sparkling win|
|Juventus 0 Barcelona 0: Messi benched but Valverde´s men in last 16|
|Bennett backs New Zealand to recover from World Cup exit|
|No Samoa donation from England squad - Borthwick|
|Conte pleased to take pressure off Atletico clash|
|Success in Europe will help Milan´s league form, Montella claims|
|Bauza sacked by Saudi Arabia|
|Browns´ Josh Gordon returns to practice|
|Azarenka confirms place at ASB Classic|
|Willian: For me, it was a penalty|
|Akinfeev keeps first Champions League clean sheet since November 2006|
|Messi rested by Barcelona side for Juventus clash|
|CSKA Moscow 2 Benfica 0: Goncharenko´s men boost progression hopes|
|Qarabag 0 Chelsea 4: Hazard, Willian lead Blues into last 16|
|Wood not giving up hope of Ashes role|
|If he´s fit, he will go – Wenger backs Welbeck for World Cup call|
|Gatland delighted by North´s return|
|Pressure the key to beating All Blacks, says Gregan|
|FIA president Todt to run unchallenged for re-election|
|Niasse banned over diving charge after FA rejects Everton appeal|
|Sri Lanka want Tigers head coach Hathurusingha|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton hunting more records - Abu Dhabi GP in numbers|
|North to leave Saints and return to Wales|
|Real Madrid´s Carvajal faces UEFA investigation over APOEL booking|
|Dimitrov never lost belief in own ability|
|Everton fined €30,000 over fan trouble against Lyon|
|No change in Everton manager hunt, says Unsworth|
|Chiellini to miss Barcelona match with thigh injury|
|McIlroy to make return in Abu Dhabi|
|Maitland among four Scotland changes for Wallabies clash|