Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Will Be Mindful But Not Limited By Potential Back Trouble

Clayton Kershaw was off to one of the best starts of his career this season before the Los Angeles Dodgers placed him on the 15-day injured list May 13 due to right SI joint inflammation.

The left-hander has largely declined to provide specifics of the injury, which is often called sacroiliitis and can cause discomfort in the buttocks or lower back, and extend down one or both legs.

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.

Kershaw acknowledged he will likely always have recurring bouts of back pain and hopes it doesn’t affect him late in the season, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:

“Unfortunately, the reality of it is with my back – I’ve thrown a lot of pitches and my back is going to be something that is a problem for me moving forward almost always. So it’s just a matter of dealing with it when you can. If it’s a once-a-year deal then so be it. But hopefully, it’s around this time of year and I’m ready to go for the rest of the season.”

Kershaw also noted he doesn’t expect to have to manage his back injury for every start moving forward:

“I don’t expect to have to manage it. I expect to be 100 percent ready to go once I let this thing go,” he said. “Hopefully I have four or five months of health and I’m ready to go for October when it matters. It’s not easy. You want to be out there. It’s just not fun to sit and watch. But the reality is you have to be patient if you want to be ready for when it matters. I’m doing my best at that, for sure.”

Kershaw was administered an epidural for his current back trouble but it did not provide the expected relief. Despite that, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said there is not more concern and rest should help remedy the issue.

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.

Kershaw progressing after bullpen session

The Dodgers were optimistic Kershaw would make a quick return after he was placed on the IL, but that didn’t come to b.

Kershaw’s planned bullpen session nearly two weeks ago was canceled because he was still dealing with discomfort in his back. He continued to play catch, but it was estimated his bullpen would be delayed for several weeks.

After resting at his home in Dallas, Kershaw threw a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium and may join a Minor League affiliate for a rehab assignment his weekend.

Are you following Dodger Blue on Instagram? It’s the best way to see exclusive coverage from games and events, get your questions answered, and more!