Clayton Kershaw exited his start on Thursday due to what the Los Angeles Dodgers have initially diagnosed as lower back pain.
Signs of trouble surfaced on Kershaw’s penultimate warmup pitch for the bottom of the fifth inning. He gingerly threw another before signaling to the dugout that he needed to be removed from the game.
The Giants’ broadcast showed Kershaw appearing to tell Dodgers head athletic trainer, “It’s my back,” before walking off the field. SportsNet LA captured Kershaw quickly grabbing at his lower back while walking through the dugout.
The 34-year-old missed one month earlier this season due to right SI joint inflammation that caused discomfort in his back. At the time, Kershaw and the Dodgers were optimistic it would be a short-term injury.
Kershaw previously dealt with 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.
Prior to leaving his start in the series finale at Oracle Park, Kershaw allowed two runs over four innings. They were scored on a J.D. Davis’ homer that came against a rare Kershaw changeup. Only one of the runs was earned, however, as the leadoff man reached on Max Muncy’s fielding error.
Kershaw entered the day with a career 1.58 ERA at AT&T Park/Oracle Park, which was good for his third-best in an opposing stadium (minimum five starts). Kershaw has a lifetime 1.44 ERA in five starts at Marlins Park/loanDepot Park, and 1.57 ERA over eight outings at Miller Park.
Kershaw didn’t expect to be limited by back injury
While still on the 10-day injured list this season, Kershaw said he didn’t believe back trouble would prove much of a hinderance once he got healthy.
That was despite being administered an epidural that did not provide the expected relief and caused a delay in Kershaw throwing a bullpen session.
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