CINCINNATI (AP) Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw missed his teammates so much that he flew from Los Angeles to Cincinnati just to work out with them.

The injured left-hander threw on flat ground Friday before their game against the Reds, the last step before he throws off a mound in the bullpen for the first time in more than a month.

Kershaw has been sidelined since June 26 with a herniated disk.

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The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and 2014 Most Valuable Player is expected to pitch off a mound Saturday for the first time since throwing in a simulated game on July 16. That step followed an aggressive rehab program and aggravated his symptoms, leading to a complete shutdown.

Kershaw, who was 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA when he was injured, is optimistic he'll have better results this time.