Considering the possibilities that were on the table -- including surgery -- news that Clayton Kershaw can begin a throwing program again after consulting with a hip specialist in New York on Tuesday, is the best news the Dodgers have gotten in weeks.
The doctor, Bryan Kelly, said it basically comes down to how well Kershaw can take the pain. He won't risk further damaging his hip by pitching with the injury this year, according to the physician.
It still seems uncertain, if not doubtful, Kershaw will pitch again this season. If he does, it might be prudent to use him in relief to manage his innings. Kershaw is 24 and even though he's already pushing on his ceiling, he still may not have reached it. Even if he won't further damage his hip by pitching, will the pain in that region cause him to subtly alter his mechanics and put extra stress on his arm?
These are some of the questions the Dodgers figure to mull in the coming weeks.
Kershaw could give the Dodgers a lights-out option for the eighth, or even the ninth, inning. If they're in it in 10 days or so, maybe that will be on the table. In fact, if they're still in the thick of the wild-card race in a week, maybe they'll even line up Kershaw for a start or two -- with Stephen Fife standing by if he the pain becomes unbearable -- before the end of the season.
Tuesday the Dodgers got a gift they couldn't have expected. Now, they have to be careful to treat it with care.