The Los Angeles Dodgers were optimistic Clayton Kershaw would make a quick return after he was placed on the 15-day injured list on May 13 with right SI joint inflammation.
Unfortunately, the future Hall of Famer did not recover as quickly as they hoped after he was administered an epidural that did not provide the expected relief.
Kershaw’s planned bullpen session last week was then canceled because he was still dealing with discomfort in his back. The left-hander continued to play catch, but it was estimated his bullpen would be delayed for several weeks.
“Arm’s good, back is getting there. I think initially I didn’t want to kind of admit that I was hurt, so we tried to just keep going. I just needed some time, so I didn’t throw for a few days and I’ve been throwing now for the last three or four days. Today, I threw out to 90 feet and feel better. It’s getting there. Now it’s just a matter of getting over that hurdle, getting back on a mound and getting going again. … I’m going to play catch for a few days, see how it goes, and then hopefully get off the mound soon.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said Kershaw is planning to throw the bullpen session sometime next week.
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 instance preventing him from pitching in the postseason.
He said the epidural has usually helped provide relief quickly, but this time it took longer and he now hopes he can move forward with his rehab soon:
“The epidural usually works pretty good for me. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of experience with those. Usually it’s a pretty quick fix, but this time it didn’t take like I had hoped it would. So sometimes the only thing to do is rest, which is hard. But hopefully I gave it enough of that and now I can kind of start progressing and get better from here.”
Kershaw went 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 in his final outing before going on the IL.
Tony Gonsolin learning from Clayton Kershaw
Tony Gonsolin has been able to find success by looking to get outs quickly into an at-bat rather than always looking for a strikeout, and he relied on some help from Kershaw to find a way to achieve his goal.
“I’ve just been trying to get some early contact,” Gonsolin recently said. “Talked with Kersh a lot about how to go deeper into games, what works and what doesn’t work, and trying to figure out a way that works for me.”
Gonsolin made the adjustment by attacking the zone and being more aggressive with his pitches, specifically with the breaking ball.
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