Although Clayton Kershaw has reported steady progress with improvement in his throwing shoulder after being temporarily shut down due to inflammation, Joe Kelly and Russell Martin have each dealt with minor back injuries of late.
Martin was held out of workouts and Cactus League games as a precaution, and he was expected to return to the lineup at the beginning of the week. However, that was pushed back to the weekend.
Due to participate in workouts on Friday, Martin may not return to game action until a couple days later, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times:
Russell Martin could play Sunday, per Dave Roberts.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) March 8, 2019
Meanwhile, Kelly was scratched from a scheduled relief appearance because of back tightness, and he is not among the relievers listed to appear in Friday’s game but should throw a bullpen session, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Dave Roberts said Joe Kelly will throw a light bullpen today, will be in a game in a couple days. Hurt the back cooking Cajun food, according to Roberts.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 8, 2019
For both players, their back trouble is not considered serious. And though there is less than three weeks until Opening Day, it certainly makes perfect sense for the Dodgers to err on the side of caution.
Martin is 2-for-8 with three RBI in three Cactus League games thus far, while Kelly issued two walks, two hits and one run over one inning in his Dodgers debut, then improved on that March 3, with just one hit allowed in a scoreless frame against the Texas Rangers.