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Clayton Kershaw throwing sessions increase in frequency, intensity

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw played catch in the Dodger Stadium outfield yet again Sunday, with the Los Angeles Dodgers sounding confident in the staff ace’s return sometime in September.

The Dodgers have mentioned Kershaw throwing sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but as he returned to the clubhouse after his workout Sunday, Kershaw suggested he has been throwing for a “week” straight. He did not take questions from the media.

In the midst of a historic season when he was 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA after 16 starts and had 145 strikeouts to nine walks, Kershaw went to the disabled list on June 26 with what was diagnosed as a mild disk herniation in his lower back. He has not pitched in a major league game since, suffering a setback shortly after the All-Star break when he attempted a simulated start.

Kershaw’s throwing session from about 120 feet Sunday was far more aggressive than the one he had exactly one week earlier when he threw from the stretch at about 65 feet. Kershaw still has not thrown from a mound since his setback.

The Dodgers have posted a remarkable 24-15 record since Kershaw has been out of action, gaining ground on the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants in the process. But the Dodgers remain anxious to get their best pitcher back for the stretch drive.

“I think that Clayton’s always going to be the aggressor and the training staff is always mindful of him wanting to get back sooner than later,” manager Dave Roberts said before Kershaw’s throwing session Sunday. “All I know is that he is progressing and we expect him back sometime in September.”

Kershaw is expected to pitch from a mound soon, but no date was given when that might take place. The left-hander is not expected to be with the club on its upcoming road trip to Philadelphia and Cincinnati.