Clayton Kershaw made his return to the Los Angeles Dodgers starting rotation following nearly a month on the 15-day injured list due to lower back pain and he turned in a great outing against the New York Mets.
The southpaw had a rough first inning where he walked three batters and gave up a single, but Kershaw still managed to limit the damage to just one run. Following the first inning, he pitched four perfect innings while adding six strikeouts before his day came to an end.
Although the Dodgers ended up dropping the game against the Mets, Kershaw was happy to be back on the mound for the club, via SportsNet LA:
“It was great to get back out there, obviously. Wanted to be back out there for a while, so good to finally do it. And yeah first thing was a little rough obviously, but thankful to kind of bounce out of that and get through five at least.”
While on the IL, Kershaw was administered an epidural that took quick effect and allowed for a smooth recovery process. He then returned without having completed a rehab assignment.
The 34-year-old has previously dealt with back injuries during the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 seasons, but he felt good after his first start since his latest trouble:
“I mean, I feel great, yeah. But I would have said that before the last one too. So I feel great right now. Really, it took me about a week to feel good after that last one, so it’s just not an easy thing to deal with all the time. But you know, for right now I feel great and don’t expect that to change.”
Although he feels strong right now, there is still one more month in the regular season for Kershaw to prepare himself for the playoffs. While that presents a good opportunity to build up his pitch count and make sure he’s fully healthy, Kershaw’s only focus is on winning the game in front of him:
“I think you fall into that trap, right? I mean, I think you know where we’re at as a team, you can kind of keep saying we’re just preparing for October, preparing for October. But the way to do that is to win baseball games, so that shouldn’t change our mindset as far as how we do things. We need to come in and try to win the game. I think that’s the best way to prepare, so that’s what I’m going to try to do too.”
Kershaw finished his day with 74 pitches, 46 of them for strikes, across his five innings of work. Following the outing, he now owns an ERA of 2.59 with 94 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP across 90.1 innings.
Gonsolin facing uncertainty while Kershaw returns
Tony Gonsolin and the Dodgers originally downplayed concern of his strained forearm and maintained much of the reasoning behind an IL stint was precautionary. They also felt an MRI wasn’t necessary after manual tests on the right elbow and forearm didn’t suggest signs of a more pressing matter.
However, Gonsolin’s arm has not progressed the way the club hoped, so he is now set to undergo an MRI and he has not been cleared to resume throwing.
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