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Clayton Kershaw injury: Dodgers ace cruises through simulated game

Kershaw could be nearing a rehab assignment after a problem-free simulated game at Dodger Stadium.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers ace lefty Clayton Kershaw reported no issues after pitching a simulated game at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, according to ESPN Los Angeles' Anthony Witrado. Kershaw reached 90 mph with his fastball and said the exercise was "full effort."

He threw all of his pitches -- which is a good sign, because at times, certain pitches and the movements that accompany them can cause pitchers discomfort.

After the 50-pitch, three-inning simulation, the next step for the 26-year-old is a rehab assignment.

The Dodgers are being "extra cautious," as Witrado reports, and with good reason. A protracted recovery period is highly preferable to a long-term injury -- especially after Los Angeles handed Kershaw the biggest contract a pitcher has ever received this offseason.

Kershaw pitched the team's opener in Australia nearly a month ago. He struck out seven and got the win in 6⅔ innings.

Upon his return, he'll attempt to add to those totals, but the Dodgers don't want to rush him back before he can pitch deep into games. The club's bullpen has been busy in Kershaw's absence. Dodgers relievers have entered into a league-high 30 save situations, and while they have a respectable ERA as a unit -- 3.47 -- the team is 2-5 in decisions in relief.