Clayton Kershaw will make a rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday before returning to the Dodgers' starting rotation, manager Dave Roberts said after Kershaw's successful four-inning simulated game on Monday.

"He's getting close," Roberts said after Kershaw threw 55 pitches to test the strained lower back that put him on the disabled list July 24. "There's zero chance [of Kershaw starting for the Dodgers on Saturday instead]. There's a level of intensity that continues to heighten, from bullpen to simulated game to Triple-A where you're competing. You continue to ramp up as far as intensity, and crossing that marker makes everyone feel better."

An impatient Kershaw believes the rehab start is unnecessary.

"Health-wise, I could have pitched in the big leagues 10 days ago. But that's not the plan, obviously," Kershaw said. "I don't feel I missed much time. I kept throwing all the way through. I guess it's the luxury we have as a team.

"You can't simulate a Major League game. You've just got to do it. Sim games are really hard. You try to create intensity, but you can't and it's really not a good recipe, but I guess it's what you have to do."

Roberts said he understands Kershaw's desire for a fast return, but he's sticking with the original plan.