Kershaw’s back puts him on DL
LOS ANGELES — Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is expected to miss four to six weeks based on an initial diagnosis of his injured back. The Dodgers officially will determine how long Kershaw will be sidelined after the three-time Cy Young Award winner visits with the team’s back specialist, Dr. Robert Watkins. The news was first reported Monday by Fox Sports.
Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts later told reporters there is no timetable yet for Kershaw’s return, but he has been placed on the 10day disabled list.
A year after missing 2½ months with a herniated disk in his lower back, Kershaw was pulled from a start Sunday against Atlanta because of lower back tightness. He exited after two innings in a 5-4, 10-inning victory.
It leaves baseball’s top team without its best pitcher. The Dodgers lead the majors with a 68-31 record entering Monday and were
atop the NL West standings by 10½ games.
Kershaw is 15-2 with a 2.04 ERA. The Dodgers are 19-2 when he starts this season.
Roberts declined to speculate on the severity of Kershaw’s injury or how long the left-hander could be out after the game Sunday.
Kershaw said he got hurt while taking warm-up throws before the second inning after retiring the side on eight pitches in the first.
“Just felt a little something in my back that wasn’t normal,” he said.
The Dodgers were 41-36 when Kershaw went down last season and trailed San Francisco by eight games. In his absence, Los Angeles went 38-24 and moved into first place by five games by the time he returned in early September. Kershaw didn’t need surgery last year and pitched the Dodgers into the NL Championship Series, where they lost to the eventual World Series champion Cubs.
“I’ve done just countless hours of back maintenance and rehab and everything just trying to stay healthy, and felt really, really good up to this point, so there’s definitely some frustration,” Kershaw said.
Kershaw decided not to pitch for Team USA in this year’s World Baseball Classic, saying he owed it to the Dodgers to remain healthy for an entire season.
“There wasn’t any shooting pain down the leg or the sensations that he felt last year, so that’s encouraging,” Roberts said Sunday, “but what he means to our ball club and his history, there’s some pause.
“From what I understand, it’s more muscular, so that sharpness he felt last year is not what he felt today. The scans could prove different.”
The Dodgers also lost starter Brandon McCarthy to the DL with a blister.