As the Los Angeles Dodgers close in on resuming their regular season schedule in San Diego, the team learned their ace on the staff, Clayton Kershaw, would not make his scheduled start due to inflammation in his back. Kershaw pitched in the season opener on March 22, striking out seven in 6.2 innings of work against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 26-year-old workhorse reported feeling tightness in his back on Tuesday when the Dodgers held their first workout since landing in the U.S, which led to the MRI.
Not one to miss a start, Kershaw was frustrated with having to forgo the game in San Diego, according to Ken Gurnick of Dodgers.com:
I really wanted to pitch, he said. I just had to admit I don’t feel right. When they laid it out to me, we have guys who can fill in the spot, and with off-days, I’ll just push back a few days and not miss a start.
Despite being scratched, Kershaw told Gurnick he doesn’t expect it to be a long-term issue:
It’s probably nothing I’m too worried about; it’s frustrating more than anything because of the timing, he said. If I had to pitch tomorrow, I’d do it, I wouldn’t feel great.
Manager Don Mattingly told reporters on Thursday he didn’t believe the situation to be serious and doesn’t anticipate needing to place Kershaw on the disabled list. Understandably, the decision to hold Kershaw out of the start is connected to the team’s awareness of placing too much on the Texan’s shoulders so early in the season.
Had Kershaw started on Sunday, he conceivably could have started again in the home opener on April 4, which would have marked three starts in a 14-day span. Mixed in with that was a compressed Spring Training schedule and long flights to and from Sydney, Australia. With Kershaw out of the picture, Mattingly will now decide between sending Hyun-Jin Ryu or Dan Haren to the mound for the U.S. opener.
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