As uncertainty clouds the timetable for Clayton Kershaw's return to the mound, surgery remains a possibility for the Los Angeles Dodgers ace, manager Dave Roberts said.
Optimism over the left-hander's recovery from a herniated disk in his lower back has dwindled since Kershaw, on the disabled list since June 26, suffered a setback on Saturday while pitching a simulated game.
Roberts said continued inflammation is cause for concern, but insisted the Dodgers are "hopeful" Kershaw will pitch again in 2016.
"With the way it flared up, it's more of an indication that surgery is more of a possibility," Roberts told reporters, via MLB.com.
Kershaw "did not feel great" during Saturday's 60-pitch session, but Roberts said he has not reported evidence of nerve damage, symptoms which would necessitate surgery.
The 28-year-old was scheduled to undergo a new series of tests this week with Robert Watkins, the Dodgers' back specialist.
He has not picked up a ball since Saturday's 60-pitch session, Roberts said, and will not again until pain subsides entirely.
"He's disappointed because he knows he can help us," Roberts said. "But his focus is on getting back this year."