Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers Optimistic SI Joint Inflammation Will Be Short-Term Injury

Clayton Kershaw has gotten off to a strong start this season, but health betrayed him yet again on Friday as the Los Angeles Dodgers placed the three-time Cy Young Award winner on the 15-day injured list due to right SI joint inflammation.

Often called sacroiliitis, the injury has to do with the area of the pelvis and hip, and according to the Mayo Clinic, can cause discomfort in the buttocks or lower back, and can extend down one or both legs.

“I don’t feel great right now, but hopefully it won’t be too long and I’ll be back out there,” answered Kershaw when asked about his injury. He declined to get into specifics of when the pain began or where it’s located.

“MRI looks good. Nothing structural from my MRI during Spring Training, so everything looks good there,” Kershaw offered. “Got an epidural [Thursday] and should be good to go. … It’s a little sore right now but I’m confident by the time my IL stint is over, I should be pretty close to ready to go, if not ready to go.”

Kershaw previously dealt with various back injuries during the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 seasons. Last year he twice suffered from left forearm/elbow inflammation, with the second bout preventing him from pitching in the postseason.

After taking most of the offseason to rest and recover, Kershaw has gone 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 32 strikeouts against three walks over five starts thus far. He threw seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs last weekend.

Roberts shares Kershaw injury details

While Kershaw declined to detail his injury, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed the pain is located in his back.

“I didn’t find out about it until the day after we got back (from the road trip). I saw the bullpen in Pittsburgh, he felt good and it looked good,” Roberts said. “And then I think the flight got him. When he got back, it locked up, so after that he went and saw the doctor and just felt an IL situation is needed.”

Roberts echoed Kershaw’s optimism the IL stint will be relatively brief, citing prior history with similar back trouble and how the 34-year-old responds after receiving an epidural injection.

As for the remainder of the season, Roberts acknowledged he will remain mindful of Kershaw’s injury history when making in-game and other pitching decisions.

“I wouldn’t say worried, but I think it has to be on my mind, and it is. I think that’s the responsible way to look at things,” Roberts said. “You still have to understand the history of any player.

“Clayton is an easy bet, obviously, to go out there and perform, but you guys have seen the way I’ve managed for the moment but also for the longterm. I do know he and I are in lockstep as far as the ultimate goal is to make sure he’s healthy through October. And I still expect that.”

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