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.