Kershaw back injury could put Dodgers title hopes at risk

Superstar ace Clayton Kershaw could miss 4-6 weeks with another back injury.

Robert Hanashiro—X02835
Jul 23

The Los Angeles Dodgers are expecting ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw to be sidelined at least a month after leaving Sunday’s game due to back pain.The Dodgers placed Kershaw on the 10-day disabled list Monday.In other roster moves, right-hander Brandon McCarthy was put (blister) on the 10-day DL, outfielder Trayce Thompson was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City, left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu was reinstated from the DL, the contract of left-hander Edward Paredes was selected from Oklahoma City and right-hander Josh Ravin was recalled from OKC.The initial prognosis on Kershaw by the team, first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports and confirmed by the Los Angeles Times, is that the Dodgers’ ace will miss four to six weeks.A final determination of Kershaw’s condition and timetable for his absence will be made following an examination by specialist Dr. Robert Watkins.Kershaw was on his way to a runaway Cy Young season when he encountered tightness in his back Sunday.Kershaw was 15-2 with a 2.07 ERA before Sunday’s game and even had a case for Most Valuable Player for the National League West-leading Dodgers. He threw 21 pitches and struck out two and walked one before manager Dave Roberts visited the mound.”Obviously, I’m not optimistic because I got taken out of the game,” said Kershaw, who spent more than two months on the disabled list in 2016 with a back injury. “At the same time, some of the symptoms aren’t as bad as they could be.”Watkins diagnosed the herniated disk in Kershaw’s back in June 2016, an injury that sidelined him for 10 weeks. Kershaw received a painkilling epidural as part of his treatment.Roberts said Sunday’s issue with Kershaw’s back was not the same as a year ago, describing it as more “muscular” and mentioning that there was no shooting pain down the star lefty’s legs this time.”I don’t want to compare, just because there’s so many variables,” Kershaw told the Los Angeles Times after Sunday’s game. “I don’t even know how to compare it, honestly.”Ryu (3-6, 4.21 ERA), who missed 17 games with a left foot contusion, was to start Monday night against the Minnesota Twins. He last pitched June 28 against the Angels.The Dodgers led the NL West by 10 1/2 games entering Monday.Roberts would not comment on the team’s interest in other starting pitchers. The Dodgers have been rumored to be interested in Texas Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish and have one week before the trade deadline.