Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been sidelined for over two weeks since leaving his August 4 start in San Francisco with lower back tightness. An MRI showed no new damage to Kershaw’s back, which has been a point of concern going all the way back to his MVP season of 2014, when he missed several weeks after his back tightened up on the flight back from their season-opening series in Sydney, Australia.
Kershaw has expressed confidence that he would return this season and be ready to contribute in October, and according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register, we now know when that return will take place.
Kershaw will not go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment, Roberts said, paving the way for the All-Star starter to rejoin the Dodgers’ rotation once active rosters expand from 26 to 28 on Sept. 1.
Roberts said Kershaw will throw a bullpen in the coming days, followed by a 3- or 4-inning simulated game against teammates at Dodger Stadium. If all goes well, that will be the extent of Kershaw’s rehab from his latest lower back injury.
September 1 will be exactly four weeks since the injury, right in line with the estimated timeline the team gave when he was placed on the injured list. Ryan Pepiot has been filling Kershaw’s spot in the rotation, but with Kershaw’s return imminent and Dustin May already back, Pepiot’s time in the big leagues is probably drawing to a close for the season.
As for Kershaw, he has been outstanding when healthy this year. This is his second stint on the injured list, having missed most of May with a very similar injury. He is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA in 15 starts this season, and twice he has thrown seven perfect innings in a game. If you take out his two starts in Colorado, his ERA would be 1.89 this season. Of course, you can’t take out those starts, no matter how many shooting stars you wish on, but the Dodgers don’t go back to Colorado again this year, so the 1.89 might be closer to what we can expect the rest of the season.
But realistically, the goal for Kershaw over the final five weeks of the season will be to keep him healthy and get him stretched out for the postseason. Last year, they got Kershaw back from the IL in early September only to have him blow out his arm in the final weekend of the season. This year, they have the luxury of a huge division lead, so they can take it easy with Kershaw (and others) with a focus on October.
When Kershaw is healthy, he’s still one of the best. Hopefully he will stay healthy this time.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube Channel yet? Subscribe and hit that notification bell to stay up to date on all the latest Dodgers news, rumors, interviews, live streams, and more!