The Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting pitching has been hit with injury problems all season long. And Clayton Kershaw is no exception.
Kershaw missed nearly the entire month of May with left triceps tendinitis and lasted all of five innings and 62 pitches upon returning May 31. After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts revealed his ace experienced back tightness, which later was diagnosed as a lower back strain.
It marked Kershaw’s fourth back injury over the past five seasons. He has remained on the disabled list since June 1, though Roberts has expressed optimism about Kershaw’s rehab process.
Kerhsaw’s first hurdle in the recovery process were bullpen sessions, which he completed last week. His extended session on Wednesday left Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman optimistic.
Kershaw next completed a simulated game at Wrigley Field on Monday before the Dodgers were scheduled to open a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs. There was consideration to him starting a game against the New York Mets, but Kershaw will instead join Triple-A Oklahoma City on a rehab assignment, per Alanna Rizzo of SportsNet LA:
Clayton Kershaw will make a rehab start in OKC on Saturday. If all goes well, he’ll rejoin the rotation next week. #Dodgers
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) June 19, 2018
It was previously reported that Kershaw was not expected to make a rehab start before returning to the rotation. Kershaw last pitched in a Minor League rehab game in 2017, when he remained on the DL for over two months.
Ironically enough, Kershaw returned from that injury in New York as well, pitching at Yankee Stadium in his first game back. Had he pitched in New York this weekend, Kershaw would’ve become the third Dodgers starter to come off the DL in less than two weeks.
Kenta Maeda returned this week against the Texas Rangers while Rich Hill will be activated Tuesday for a start at Wrigley Field. Getting those three healthy at the same time would boost the Dodgers’ rotation as the team looks to maintain its current hot streak.
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