During spring training, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Don Mattingly expressed concern in potentially overworking Clayton Kershaw in the early stages of the regular season. The Dodgers schedule aligned so that Kershaw could have started the three marquee games, season opener, U.S. opener and home opener, in a span of 13 days.
Nonetheless, Kershaw started the first game of the season in Australia and was on track to start in San Diego on March 30 before being scratched due to inflammation in his back. On the eve of the Dodgers’ U.S. opener, Kershaw was then placed on the disabled list, which at the time was believed to be nothing more than a precautionary measure.
The severity of the situation has since increased, with Kershaw being placed on what the team called a submaximal throwing program for 2-3 weeks. Kershaw made progress on Tuesday, throwing from 75 feet without issue, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles Daily News:
Clayton Kershaw threw from 75 feet without pain Tuesday as the pitcher continues to make progress from inflammation in the teres major muscle in his back.
Kershaw told Hoornstra the plan is to complete what he can without doing more damage:
Hopefully every day is a little bit of a progression, he said. It’s basically ‘if it doesn’t hurt, do it.’
Kershaw isn’t the only pitcher that’s recovering from an injury. Chad Billingsley left his rehab start after feeling a sensation in his elbow, but Hoornstra reports the right-hander’s experience was nothing out of the ordinary:
After meeting with team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache, Billingsley was reassured that the sensation was caused by scar tissue breaking up, a normal part of the recovery process. The doctor didn’t even send Billingsley in for an MRI exam.
Billingsley was scheduled to make five rehab starts with a return potentially coming in May, but that may now be in jeopardy. While these are positive developments in Billingsley’s and Kershaw’s rehab, the Dodgers are likely to remain patient and allow both pitchers to continue making progress without placing pressure on either to immediately return.
Dodgers news: Clayton Kershaw placed on disabled list with back inflammation