By Jon Weisman
The parallel universe that is the Dodgers’ disabled list came to life at Dodger Stadium today.
As the active roster prepared for its game tonight at Colorado, six Dodger pitchers — Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Alex Wood — strode the field today to continue their rehabilitation from injuries.
Four of them — Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir and McCarthy — took turns throwing simulated innings off the mound, to a group of imported Dodger minor-leaguers whose seasons have ended.
Kershaw, of course, was the headliner, throwing 35 pitches with high intensity in two innings. He wasn’t ready to pronounce any verdict — “Last time I came out of this OK, got home and felt terrible,” he said — though Andrew Friedman told reporters in Colorado that Kershaw’s next step would be a minor-league rehab game.
“Tomorrow’s probably a better time to answer,” Kershaw said. “As of this second, I feel OK.”
The soft-spoken Anderson was fairly effusive about his session, saying he was pleased he could throw his pitches “with conviction” during four innings on the mound to hitters and a fifth in the bullpen.
“Everything’s good — better than the last two times I was on the mound,” Anderson said. “My arm strength and stuff feel about the same. My pitches are doing what I want them to do, because I don’t have to worry about a blister, so I’d say it’s probably about 90-95 percent back. It might be a little bit tender tomorrow because of the friction and heat and stuff, but I should throw my normal bullpen in two or three days and then expect it to be 100 percent going forward after that.”
Anderson said a long bullpen session was his next step. He allowed 11 of 18 batters to reach base August 20 at Cincinnati before going on the disabled list.
“You start trying to change things to take the pressure off the blister, and stuff doesn’t do what you want it to do, and that’s never a good thing with big-league hitters,” Anderson said.
Kazmir, who like McCarthy threw five simulated innings, was in positive spirits as well, but he still has some physical work to do.
“I felt like I was coming out good, but still some things to work on in my body a little bit,” he said. “That glove side, the whole chain is a little (tight). We’ve been working a lot on my trap, and that’s loosened up. … It’s almost like (my) range of motion, everything’s one-sided. I almost wish I batted right handed or played golf right-handed to balance me out. That’s what we’re working on, to balance things out a little bit.
“I don’t want to speak too far ahead throughout the process, (but) I feel good, feel great. All my offspeed’s working, but I feel that wasn’t necessarily the problem. It was more fastball command. So that’s where you need that front side to be nice and strong and get through the ball, and towards the end it was getting better.”
For McCarthy, the goal remains finding his comfort zone.
“It felt good,” he said. “There were things I wanted to focus on, things I wanted to get out, and it was a step in the right direction. .. Just trying to get comfortable again more than anything else.”
The biggest takeaway of the day didn’t go to any of the pitchers, but to Carlos Rincon, an 18-year-old outfielder the Dodgers signed from the Dominican Republic last year.
Rincon had 13 homers in 52 minor-league games this season for the Dodgers. Now he has one more — the one he hit off Kershaw today.
“Oh, he got me!” Kershaw exclaimed as the ball smacked off the bat toward the seats.
Not that Kershaw seemed to mind. He has, as they say, bigger fish to fry.
Kershaw, Anderson, Kazmir and McCarthy are coming back. This is great news…except for the Anderson part. He still needs more time in the minors….like permanently in the minors.