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Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw pitches bullpen session

Dodgers Notes

The left-hander, who missed his last turn in the rotation because of a right hip injury, throws 20 pitches at Great American Ball Park. Kershaw has not been ruled out to pitch Sunday.

September 22, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez, Los Angeles Times

CINCINNATI — Clayton Kershaw threw a short bullpen session Friday, raising the possibility he could pitch for the Dodgers in their series finale against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.

Long before Great American Ball Park was open to fans, Kershaw threw 20 pitches in the visiting bullpen under the watch of pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, medical director Stan Conte, trainer Sue Falsone and Manager Don Mattingly.

Kershaw missed his last turn in the rotation because of a right hip injury and visited an orthopedic surgeon in New York on Tuesday.

Mattingly wouldn't speculate when Kershaw might be able to pitch again, but also wouldn't rule out him for Sunday. Aaron Harang is scheduled to pitch that day on three-days' rest, something he hasn't done in more than four years.

"We'll see what happens tomorrow," Mattingly said.

Kershaw has been told he wouldn't do any further damage to his hip by pitching, but the Dodgers won't allow him to take the mound unless he is free of pain.

Kershaw said he felt "great" on the mound, but, like Mattingly, wouldn't say whether he thought he could pitch Sunday.

"Any time your team's in the race, you definitely want to be a part of it," Kershaw said. "It's not easy to just sit on the sidelines and watch, but I'm hopeful I can come back at some point. Hopefully, it's not too late."

Kershaw hasn't pitched since Sept. 11, but he has continued throwing on flat ground and doesn't think he has lost arm strength.

He declined to talk about his injury. The Dodgers also haven't offered many details, including whether he might have to undergo surgery.

Whether Kershaw pitches Sunday won't be Kershaw's or Mattingly's call.

"It's going to have to be the medical people saying he's passed every test and he's cleared every hurdle," Mattingly said.

Kershaw isn't being considered for a relief role, according to Mattingly.

The manager refused to say whether he thinks Kershaw should pitch if the Dodgers are no longer in contention.

Victorino sidelined

Shane Victorino was out of the lineup Friday with a sore left wrist. His spot in left field was taken by Juan Rivera.

Victorino said he hit his wrist against a wall when chasing a ball into the left-field corner at Nationals Park the previous night.

"Before I went to bed last night, I felt something was stiff," Victorino said. "When I woke up this morning, it was worse."

Lilly undergoes surgery

Ted Lilly underwent a minor shoulder operation to clean up his labrum.

Dr. Neal ElAttrache didn't find any unexpected damage in the shoulder during the 30-minute procedure and Lilly is expected to be able to start throwing again in six to eight weeks. Lilly, who is under contract for next season, should be ready for the start of spring training.

Billingsley plays catch

Chad Billingsley played catch at Great American Ball Park, throwing a baseball for the first time since he was shut down for the season with a partially torn elbow ligament.

The game of catch is part of a throwing program designed to test the condition of Billingsley's elbow. This off-season, he and the Dodgers will decide whether he will undergo reconstructive elbow surgery. If Billingsley undergoes surgery, he will miss the 2013 season.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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