Clayton Kershaw dealing with unknown

Denis Poroy

Sidelined with inflammation in an upper back muscle and no real timetable for return has the Dodgers ace frustrated.

SAN DIEGO -- Clayton Kershaw is on the disabled list for the first part of his career, and the notoriously regimented pitcher has had his routine thrown out of whack.

"It's frustrating to be hurt. I think the hard part for me is not really having a set end goal," Kershaw said. "It's more whenever it feels better, go. We're going to try to keep my arm going, try and playing catch, but as far as pitching in a game we're not really sure when that's going to be, and that's really the hard part."

Kershaw threw very lightly before Wednesday's game against the Padres, almost lobbing the ball to trainer Stan Conte, part of the submaximal throwing program the left-hander was prescribed for the next two to three weeks.

After those two to three weeks are up, Kershaw will be reevaluated by team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache to figure out the next course of action. But for the most part, the best course of action to heal the inflammation in the teres major muscle in Kershaw's upper back is simply rest, which poses a different problem for Kershaw.

"I'm not very good at that," Kershaw said. "Patience isn't a virtue of mine."

Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was critical of the Australia trip — more from him from Ken Gurnick of MLB.com and Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times — because the starting pitchers traveling to Sydney only got four Cactus League starts before the regular season.

"Rick thought [spring] was a little short," manager Don Mattingly said. "Even though we were in spring training early, he felt they didn't get on the mound enough."

Neither Kershaw, Mattingly nor Honeycutt were willing to directly blame Kershaw's injury on the trip.

"I don't think the flights itself had anything to do with it. Obviously pitching is what hurt it, so whether that's because I was in Australia or not, who knows?" Kershaw offered. "Throwing hard, that's probably what caused it. You can look back on a lot of things and second guess, but at the end of the day it just happened. I feel like I was as prepared as I possibly could be for the season.

"I feel like I rested an adequate amount of time. Throwing all offseason I felt great, all spring training I felt great. I didn't have any soreness or anything, usually something comes up. I don't know what I could have done better.

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