UPDATED 3-6-13 at 8:55 AM (From Dodgers beat reporter Ken Gurnick)
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson, who left Tuesday’s game with a left knee injury, said Wednesday the pain is gone and doctors have cleared him to return to action.
“I feel completely normal,” Tolleson said. “There’s no swelling, no soreness. I’m taking one day to play catch and I should be back to normal [Thursday].”
Tolleson was hurt delivering a pitch as he landed on his left leg. The right-hander said he “felt something weird in my knee, a sharp, exact pain. It spooked me, freaked me out. I thought I did something.”
Tolleson said trainers who watched game video haven’t been able to explain what or why it happened, but are satisfied nothing is structurally wrong. Tolleson said he never previously had any similar issues.
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There isn’t a person alive who can argue that Clayton Kershaw isn’t the best pitcher on the Dodgers. Heck, he is quite possibly the best pitcher in all of baseball right now and everybody knows this, right?
According to the former Cy Young Award winning left-handed phenom himself, “Shawn Tolleson is better than me.”
Tolleson, who attended Allen High School in Allen, Texas - a fierce rival of Kershaw’s Highland Park High School, was (according to Kershaw) a better pitcher than himself – this in spite of a perfect game thrown by Kershaw in his senior year in which he struck out every batter he faced (and hit a home run to boot). Unfortunately, Tolleson suffered a serious injury to his right arm at the beginning of his senior year that required Tommy John surgery to repair, thus taking him out of the rivalry against his good friend Clayton Kershaw.
Of course we all know that Clayton Kershaw is a much better pitcher than Shawn Tolleson, but we also know that Kershaw is the most humble person on the face of the planet and his claim that the 23-year-old Tolleson is better than him should come as a surprise to no one.
During Tuesday’s spring training game against the Padres at the Peoria Sports Complex, Kershaw had what can only be described as a non-Kershaw-like outing in which he allowed a single, a triple and a home run to the three batters that he faced in the fourth inning and was removed without retiring a single batter – before he could pitch for the cycle. His meltdown inning led to an eventual 7-3 loss to the suddenly hot Padres.
…and then things got worse.
Tolleson entered the game in the bottom of the 8th inning and after quickly retiring the first batter he faced on a ground out, he bent over in pain after his second pitch to Padres infielder Gregorio Petit.
“He said he felt something pop (in his left knee) and it scared him,” said Dodger manager Don Mattingly. ”Obviously we don’t know anything for sure, but it sounded like Sue (Falsone) was ruling out the big stuff,” Mattingly added.
Tolleson will undergo an MRI on Wednesday to determine the full extent of his injury, but this is definitely a tough break for the young right-hander, who is vying for one of only two available bullpen spots on the Dodgers roster.