Clayton Kershaw Scratched From Opening Day Start Due To Back Inflammation


Everybody panic! Earlier this evening, the Dodgers announced that Clayton Kershaw will miss his scheduled start on Sunday night. After reporting stiffness yesterday, Kershaw underwent an MRI earlier today, which revealed inflammation in his teres major muscle, which “stabilizes the upper arm.”

An injury so close to the shoulder is pretty scary, but it seems a bit early to worry very much:

Kershaw stated later that he could probably start on Sunday despite the injury, but an overabundance of caution with pitchers is necessary.

Kershaw has been incredibly durable throughout his career. He has never been placed on the disabled list, though he dealt with a hip impingement and plantar fasciitis in 2012. His durability is one reason why his huge contract seems like a bargain.

Figuring out Kershaw’s replacement for Sunday night’s game against the Padres is not an easy task. Zack Greinke is currently in line to start tomorrow’s Freeway Series game, and it has been announced that he will start next Tuesday in San Diego. Hyun-jin Ryu has an injured toe, suffered while running the bases in Australia. His toenail was treated earlier today, and he felt good enough to throw off of a mound afterwards. Don Mattingly stated earlier tonight that Ryu is still in the mix for Sunday’s start. Dan Haren, who missed the trip to Australia due to a tired arm, is apparently ready to go. Paul Maholm will pitch in tonight’s intrasquad game, though that can be viewed as a bullpen session and would not prevent him from starting on Sunday if necessary.

If Kershaw’s injury is indeed minor, then the rotation shouldn’t be impacted for very long. Despite the long paragraph going through Sunday’s options, right now the main obstacle is getting everyone in order on short notice without sending anybody to the disabled list.

I think it’s premature to blame the Australia trip for Kershaw’s back injury (and that it will probably be tiresome when the trip is blamed for everything that goes wrong later in the year). Unless the team says for sure, we’ll never know. Kershaw’s velocity did seem a bit low on Saturday, though the announcers blamed a cold radar gun. We’ll never know for sure how different things would have been had the Dodgers heeded Dustin’s advice.

About Daniel Brim

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Daniel Brim grew up in the Los Angeles area but doesn't live there anymore. He still watches the Dodgers and writes about them sometimes.