Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw returns to face Giants

Clayton Kershaw is set to return from the injured list on Saturday for the Los Angeles Dodgers, who will continue their three-game series against the host San Francisco Giants.

Kershaw (4-0, 1.80 ERA) has been out since throwing seven shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs on May 7. The three-time Cy Young Award winner landed on the injured list due to pelvic joint inflammation.

The Dodgers could use a boost from Kershaw after Walker Buehler pitched just four innings in Friday’s series opener before exiting due to right elbow discomfort. San Francisco won 7-2 behind Darin Ruf, who went 3-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs.

Julio Urias originally was set to start for the Dodgers on Saturday, with Kershaw pitching on Sunday, but manager Dave Roberts decided to give Urias an extra day off.

Kershaw, a left-hander, will pitch on five days of rest after making his lone rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga last Sunday.

“I think for us it’s just more of letting Clayton get on more of a regular turn, rotation, rhythm and then giving Julio an extra day,” Roberts said. “And then where we are in the middle of the season, Julio has made all of his starts, to give him an extra day -it just made a lot of sense.”

Kershaw is 24-14 lifetime against the Giants, with a 1.88 ERA.

The Giants are expected to have a bullpen game Saturday with left-hander Sam Long (0-1, 2.35) getting the start. Long, 26, has allowed four runs in 11 games this season across 15 1/3 innings.

He struggled in his first appearance against the Dodgers this season, allowing three runs on three hits while recording just one out in relief on May 4. Long is 0-0 lifetime against the Dodgers, with a 10.80 ERA in 3 1/3 innings across three games.

San Francisco recorded 10 hits and played error-free ball on Friday, but the victory could be costly. Starting pitcher Jakob Junis exited after throwing a pitch in the sixth inning with a left-hamstring strain and will have an MRI on Saturday.

Third baseman Evan Longoria left the game in the fourth inning with left-hamstring tightness and is listed as day-to-day.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who has been on the injured list since May 22 (retroactive to May 19) with right knee inflammation, could return as soon as this weekend. Belt is not expected to require a minor league rehab stint.

San Francisco outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. (left knee) also was expected to return soon, but that could be delayed after he felt tightness in his left hamstring on Friday while performing baserunning drills.

“I don’t think we’re at the stage where we have to consider this a real setback,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said, “but we’re going to get through the weekend before we decide what’s next.”

One bright spot for the Dodgers in Friday’s loss was the play of second baseman Gavin Lux, who homered for the first time since April 13.

Lux has raised his average to .291 after going 12-for-28 (.429) with two doubles, one homer and two RBIs in nine games this month.

“He’s working hard,” Dodgers first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “He’s just soaking it all in. He’s just trying to be the best player he can be, and it’s pretty fun to watch.”

–Field Level Media