With any player, especially a pitcher, you never want to hear the words "separated" and "shoulder" in the same sentence. But that is the case with Clayton Kershaw, who injured himself "power shagging" fly balls on Sunday during batting practice at Dodger Stadium. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported the separation:
When Kershaw ran into the outfield wall shagging fly balls at Dodger Stadium on Sunday, he did more than bruise his non-throwing shoulder -- he separated it.
"Bruise, sprain, separated, it's all the same," Kershaw said.
For a 21-year old, that is some fine veteran-speak by Kershaw. I'm surprised he didn't say "rub some dirt on it." Hernandez also noted Kershaw has seen an increase in his range of motion. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com also reported the increase in range of motion, but didn't mention the separation. In fact, Gurnick's article, which also included some news on Randy Wolf, who might start Tuesday, was entitled "Dodgers starters improving slowly." Gurnick noted:
Kershaw, meanwhile, continues to increase the range of motion with his right arm as he throws with his left on flat ground, but he still has not resumed catching or, more important, throwing with full effort.
What do we make of this news? First of all, since Kershaw hasn't even resumed throwing yet, he is probably at least a week or two away from returning. Secondly, its important to remember that the separation is of Kershaw's right shoulder, when he in fact throws lefthanded. The worry is that Kershaw might change something in his delivery to compensate for the pain or limited range in his right shoulder, which in turn could hurt or negatively affect his left arm.
Perhaps the most long-lasting result of Kershaw's right shoulder injury just might be some sort of "No Power Shagging" sign to go along with the classic "No Pepper Games" sign (are those even around anymore?).
The Dodgers, with a 7½-game lead on the Giants, have as good of chances to go to the postseason as almost any team -- they have a 99.77% chance to make the playoffs per Baseball Prospectus. If Kershaw has to sit out extra time in order to be ready to go in the postseason, the Dodgers are in a position to give him that time. Call me crazy, but I think it would be great to have the club's leader in earned run average available to pitch in October (and November).