Dodgers Injury News: Clayton Kershaw Begins Playing Catch, Rehab Progressing Well

Dodgers Injury News: Clayton Kershaw Begins Playing Catch, Rehab Progressing Well

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the 2018 season has been a rough one for Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. He opened the year just 1-4 and pitched with diminished velocity before going on the disabled list with bicep tendinitis.

That caused him to miss nearly a month of action, and when Kershaw returned on May 31 against the Philadelphia Phillies, things continued to not go his way. Kershaw’s velocity with considerably down and although he gave up just one run, he was removed from the game after five innings.

It was revealed after the fact that he came out of the game due to back tightness, which was a major concern considering Kershaw has been hampered by back injuries in each of the last two seasons.

The 30-year-old wound up being placed on the disabled list with a lower back strain, which is expected to keep him out for at least a month. He missed around six weeks with the same injury in 2017.

It appears his rehab is progressing well though, as Kershaw has already begun playing catch, via Andy McCullough of the L.A. Times:

Kershaw has been cleared to play catch as he recovers from a strained muscle in his lower back. “From what I understand, this past week has been quite good, as far as his rehab is concerned,” Roberts said.

Despite their starting rotation being decimated by injuries, the Dodgers have been playing their best baseball of the season in recent weeks, winning 15 of their last 20 games.

Their bullpen usage has been unsustainable though, so if the team wants to continue to have success for the rest of the season then they will need a healthy Kershaw getting deep into games every fifth day to give the bullpen a break.

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Kershaw returns to 10-day disabled list with strained back

Kershaw returns to 10-day disabled list with strained back

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong). Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Los Angeles.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong). Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to a Philadelphia Phillies batter during the third inning of a baseball game Thursday, May 31, 2018, in Los Angeles.

DENVER (AP) – Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has returned to the disabled list, this time with a strained lower back.

The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner experienced tightness during his five-inning outing against Philadelphia on Thursday. The Dodgers made the move Friday before their game at Colorado.

The 30-year-old left-hander has spent time on the DL in each of the past two seasons with a back injury.

Kershaw’s start this week was his first after nearly a month on the disabled list with left biceps tendinitis. He said Thursday that he’s “frustrated, disappointed I can’t contribute to the team. Being on the DL’s no fun.”

Kershaw is 1-4 this season with a 2.76 ERA spanning eight starts.

To take Kershaw’s place on the roster, the team recalled right-hander Brock Stewart from Triple-A Oklahoma City.

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Preview: Clayton Kershaw Returns From Disabled List As Dodgers Go For Series Win Over Phillies

Preview: Clayton Kershaw Returns From Disabled List As Dodgers Go For Series Win Over Phillies

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers host the Philadelphia Phillies in the finale of a four-game set. With a win, the Dodgers will successfully clinch their fourth consecutive series victory.

The Dodgers enter play only three games under .500 and 3.5 games behind the first-place Colorado Rockies in the National League West.

Clayton Kershaw makes his first start since May 1 after spending nearly a month on the disabled list with left bicep tendonitis. While sidelined, Kershaw revealed that he worked extensively to improve his mechanics for the first time in his career.

In seven starts this season, Kershaw has posted a 2.86 ERA, 3.68 FIP and 1.14 WHIP over 44 innings pitched with 48 strikeouts to 10 walks. He looks to limit the home run ball, as he has already yielded a team-high seven on the year. His velocity was a bit down before going on the disabled list, so that will be something to keep an eye on moving forward.

In 12 career starts against the Phillies, the three-time Cy Young Award winner is 3-5 with a 3.16 ERA and 1.08 WHIP across 77 innings. Moreover, he has accumulated 86 strikeouts compared to 21 walks during the span.

The Phillies counter with Aaron Nola, who looks to build off an excellent start against the Toronto Blue Jays. In 6.2 innings pitched, he allowed only one hit and one run with 10 strikeouts to three walks.

Nola is in the midst of his finest season at the big league level since debuting in 2015. He is 6-2 with career-lows in ERA (2.27), FIP (2.72) and WHIP (0.98). Furthermore, he has racked up 67 strikeouts in 71.1 innings pitched while issuing only 17 walks.

Max Muncy is once again playing first and batting second for the Dodgers. He has been one of the team’s best hitters in the month of May, slashing .273/.388/.576 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 24 games.

The unquestioned hottest hitter on the Dodgers right now is Matt Kemp though, who leads the team with 30 RBI after driving in four in Wednesday’s victory. He also leads the NL with a .345 batting average on the season. He gets the day off against Nola though as he is 0-for-11 against him in his career.

Dodgers lineup:

LF: Joc Pederson
1B: Max Muncy
3B: Justin Turner
C: Yasmani Grandal
CF: Cody Bellinger
RF: Yasiel Puig
2B: Breyvic Valera
SS: Kiké Hernández
P: Clayton Kershaw

Phillies lineup:

2B: Cesar Hernandez
RF: Aaron Altherr
CF: Odubel Herrera
1B: Carlos Santana
3B: Maikel Franco
LF: Nick Williams
SS: Scott Kingery
C: Jorge Alfaro
P: Aaron Nola

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Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Activated Off Disabled List, Pat Venditte Optioned To Oklahoma City

Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Activated Off Disabled List, Pat Venditte Optioned To Oklahoma City

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers reinstated Clayton Kershaw from the 10-day disabled list and optioned Pat Venditte to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Kershaw returns to start in Thursday’s series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Venditte heads back to Oklahoma City one day after he was recalled to take the place of Chase Utley on the active roster, as the veteran second baseman was put on the DL with a sprained left thumb. Venditte threw 30 pitches and allowed a run on two hits and one hit batter before getting through the ninth inning on Wednesday.

He’s allowed three runs in 3.2 innings (7.36 ERA) and pitched to a 1.36 WHIP across three relief appearances for the Dodgers. Venditte has fared much better for OKC, where he’s 2-0 with one save, a 1.25 ERA and 0.74 WHIP in 19 games.

Kershaw is activated after last having pitched May 1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Left biceps tendinitis forced him to the DL five days later, with the Dodgers not electing to backdate it.

The roster move came while the Dodgers were participating in the Mexico Series, and Kershaw returned to Los Angeles to undergo an MRI. Concerns gave way to optimism as the scan didn’t reveal any structural damage in his throwing shoulder or elbow.

Along with being a milder injury, the biceps tendinitis offered an explanation as to why the three-time Cy Young Award winner lacked his usual velocity and consistent effectiveness. Kershaw used the past month to hone in on his mechanics for the first time of his career.

He’s 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA, 3.68 FIP and 1.14 WHIP through seven starts this season. The Dodgers went 14-12 since their ace made his last start. His return comes on the heels of Kenta Maeda landing on the disabled list with a right hip strain.

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