Signed to a seven-year, $215 million contract, Clayton Kershaw is expected to continue leading the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff and be a reliable option at the top of the rotation.

Kershaw got the 2014 season off on a high note against the Arizona Diamondbacks, striking out seven batters in 6.2 innings pitched. The next step for Kershaw was reportedly starting in San Diego on March 30, but that has now been put on hold. He’s the latest Dodgers pitcher to be hampered by injury, dealing with inflammation, the Dodgers reported via their Twitter account:

Where the team will go from here is unclear. Zack Greinke, who said he’s 100 percent recovered from a right calf strain would be the natural assumption to start in Kershaw’s place, but he admitted needing to increase his pitch count. Greinke is currently scheduled to start in the Dodgers exhibition game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, which means he wouldn’t be ready to pitch until Tuesday on normal rest.

Greinke could forego starting in the exhibition game and instead work on his pitch count in the regular season setting. Given the competitor that he is, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if Greinke volunteers to go that route.

If manager Don Mattingly decides against starting Greinke on Sunday, Hyun-Jin Ryu would be the next candidate in line, but he’s dealing with a split toenail that for now is believed may cause him to miss his next start. After the Dodgers’ top three starters are two more pitchers that are dealing with or dealt with their own issues.

Dan Haren reported a tired arm a couple of weeks back during Spring Training and Josh Beckett dealt with a right thumb injury that at one point prevented him from throwing breaking balls. Haren did report feeling better following a minor league start on March 18 and he too is scheduled to pitch against the Angels.

Once believed to have plenty of options, injuries have decimated the pitching rotation and left the Dodgers in search of a healthy starter.

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About The Author

Matt is a journalist from Whittier, California. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, Matthew occasionally contributes to Lakers Nation, and previously served as the lead editor and digital strategist at Dodgers Nation, and the co-editor and lead writer at Reign of Troy, where he covered USC Football. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mmoreno1015

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