It was something that we all thought about but didn’t want to acknowledge – that two time and defending NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw would be unable to start the home opener on Friday, April 4 because of the soreness he has been experiencing on the left side of his back.
Unfortunately it is something that we all have to acknowledge now, as Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday afternoon.
“At that point, we knew he couldn’t go any farther,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly after Kershaw’s throwing session on Saturday afternoon which ended abruptly. “We have to save Clayton from Clayton.”
Kershaw received an MRI on his back on Monday with the results being described as inflammation of the teres major. As a result, he was scratched from his scheduled start against the Padres on Sunday for the domestic season opener, with his eye on making the home opener start against the Hated Ones on April 4.
“I really don’t know how I did it,” said Kershaw after last Sundays 14-hour flight back from Sydney, Australia, where he threw 102 pitches 6.2 innings in Saturday’s MLB season opener against the Diamondbacks.
Kershaw threw from flat ground on Friday and told Mattingly afterwards that it went well and that he didn’t feel anything. However, according to Dodgers beat reporter J.P. Hoornstra, Kershaw’s throwing session on Saturday afternoon with head trainer Stan Conte ended after only five minutes and it didn’t end well.
“Clayton Kershaw’s throwing session is over. Lasted about 5 minutes,” tweeted Hoornstra, adding that Kershaw was throwing from about 100 feet. Anyone who has ever watched Kershaw long toss knows that throwing from 200 feet (or more) is not all that uncommon for the 26-year-old left-hander who just signed a franchise record seven-year/$215 million contract extension with the Dodgers.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that Kershaw’s first ever trip to the disabled list is retroactive to March 23 and he is eligible to come off of it on April 8 – although I would be shocked if that happened. Mattingly made it clear that they will not rush Kershaw back until he is 100%.
Fellow left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu will start Sunday’s domestic season opener against the Padres in San Diego and will now most likely start the home opener at Dodger Stadium on April 4.