Clayton Kershaw throws five innings in rehab start in Rancho Cucamonga

first_imgRANCHO CUCAMONGA >> It isn’t often a little known minor-league catcher gets multiple requests for interviews after batting practice. But this wasn’t just any other ordinary minor-league baseball game for most.Two-time Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was on the mound, making a rehab start Friday night for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, the California League affiliate of the parent Dodgers.There were more than 50 media credential requests, something unheard for a regular-season game. The last time an appearance by a big-leaguer generated this much buzz in Southern California was in 2009, when Manny Ramirez came back after a PED suspension and played some games in San Bernardino, then a Dodgers affiliate.Kershaw pitched on Opening Day in Australia but has been on the disabled list since with a strained back muscle. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error But he hardly looked like a pitcher who had been missing in action for a month. He went five innings, throwing 56 pitches. He gave up two hits, struck out six and walked one. “It felt really good. It was good to get back out there again,” he said. “I was able to get in five innings and that’s a lot of getting up and down, which is good. I was real pleased with how it went.”The only hitter who had much luck against the Dodgers ace was shortstop Carlos Perdomo, who celebrated his 24th birthday by homering to lead off the fifth. He also had a single in the second.Kershaw had a seven-pitch inning and two six-pitch innings. He struggled a bit in the second inning, needing 20 pitches. He gave up a single and a four-pitch walk but struck out two. He didn’t seem to be worried about completely overmatching the JetHawk hitters. He never pitched at the High-A level, jumping from Low-A to Double-A.“They’re professional hitters too,” he said. “They had some guys that looked pretty comfortable in the box. It was just good to get the work in and come out of it feeling good.”center_img There had been some speculation that Kershaw would make another rehab start, but he said he wasn’t sure of his next step. He didn’t respond when asked if he was ready to rejoin the big-league team.The game at LoanMart Field was sold out even before the Dodgers announced on Wednesday that Kershaw would make the start. Chalk that up to a previously planned promotion — Brian Wilson BobbleBeard night.Kershaw had a couple tucked in his locker to give to his teammate.Quakes manager P.J. Forbes has gotten used to big-leaguers in the clubhouse. He’s already had Wilson, Chad Billinglsey and Josh Beckett this season. He is focused on his team’s play, which hasn’t been stellar of late. But he knows the value of having a highly respected professional around.Indeed, when Kershaw went to the bullpen to warm up, Quakes players stood side by side, watching intently.“I’m glad the kids are getting a chance to play behind someone of that caliber, who really is the face of the Dodgers,” Forbes said. “It’s as good as it gets without being in the big leagues. They can learn a lot by watching him.”Tyler Ogle, a ninth-round draft pick in 2011, was the player entrusted to catch for Kershaw, arguably the game’s best pitcher. He said hello to the pitcher briefly but met with him after batting practice to go over a few things.”“I’m not really nervous,” he said. “The last thing I need to do is get nervous and start making mistakes.”last_img read more

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