Kershaw returns to 10-day disabled list with strained back
DENVER (AP) — Clayton Kershaw returned from the disabled list for all of one day before going right back on.
This time, with a strained lower back. It's similar to the injury that sidelined the Los Angeles Dodgers ace for about five weeks last season.
Manager Dave Roberts feels the timeline for the left-hander's return could be around a month.
"Don't think it's too serious. That's a positive," Roberts said Friday before the Dodgers faced the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies. "But obviously any time that he's going to miss because of the back is disappointing. But to know that he will be back to help us win games this year obviously is encouraging."
The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner experienced tightness during his five-inning outing against Philadelphia on Thursday. The Dodgers made the move Friday afternoon.
The 30-year-old left-hander has spent time on the DL in each of the past two seasons with a back injury. His recent MRI didn't reveal any tears, Roberts said. But there is inflammation and he had an injection.
"Initially, resting is No. 1," Roberts said of the game plan going forward. "Clayton is going to want to get back out there as soon as possible, which we appreciate and understand. But making sure that he's well and good and ready to go — rest is a big part of it. It's at the forefront of our mind."
Kershaw's start this week was his first after nearly a month on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. He said Thursday that he's "frustrated, disappointed I can't contribute to the team. Being on the DL's no fun."
To take Kershaw's place on the roster, the team recalled right-hander Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Kershaw is 1-4 this season with a 2.76 ERA spanning eight starts. The seven-time All-Star has long been one of the most feared pitchers in the game and has a stellar 145-68 career mark with a 2.37 ERA.
"The thing about Clayton, the great thing about the great ones is they can do things that are essentially super-human and find ways to grind and still find ways to be great," Roberts said. "Knowing Clayton for three years, no one works harder, no one prepares better. What can we do? I think that that's past my intelligence. 'Doc' is only my nickname. I don't have any other remedies."
This is the latest blow to a pitching staff already missing Rich Hill (blister), Kenta Maeda (hip) and Hyun-Jin Ryu (groin).
"It makes everyone's job a lot easier when you can pencil (Kershaw) in every fifth day," Roberts said. "It absolutely won't destroy us. It speaks to the guys in the clubhouse, the character, the relentlessness. It's not ideal losing four-fifths of our starting rotation at some point this year. ... But we have guys that we can plug in.