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Clayton Kershaw scratched from Dodgers-Padres opener

Inflammation in the upper back has knocked the Dodgers ace from his scheduled start in the club's domestic regular season opener on ESPN.

Mark Kolbe

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw will not make his scheduled start on Sunday night against the Padres in San Diego, scratched after an MRI exam revealed inflammation of the Teres Major muscle in his upper back on the left side.

Kershaw complained of tightness after throwing during the team workout at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. The team says his next start will be determined by his progress while throwing over the next week.

"It's nothing to be worried about, but it's really frustrating," Kershaw said. "If I had to push tomorrow, I could probably do it."

Kershaw allowed one run in 6⅔ innings on opening day in a win over the Diamondbacks in Sydney. It is unknown whether or not he will need to be placed on the disabled list, but if so the move could be retroactive to March 23, meaning he could be activated as early as April 7. The Dodgers are off that day but open a two-game series against the Tigers the next day.

The Dodgers rotation, arguably the team's biggest strength, is anything but stable heading into the domestic start of the regular season. In addition to Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu is recovering from a cracked toenail that could cause him to miss a start, too.

Ryu had half his right big toenail cut off on Tuesday and though he said on Wednesday he his toe has felt better every day, his status is up in the air. Ryu will play catch on Wednesday to see how his toe feels, and the team will determine his status from there.

"Right now I'm sure it's going to be a little painful, but it should heal up pretty quickly," Ryu said. "Today is a pretty important day."

If he is able to pitch, Ryu will start in place of Kershaw on Sunday. Ryu also did dry work (going through his pitching motions without the ball) off a mound in the bullpen, testing landing on his toe.

"We'll see how he comes out of that, and that's when we'll make our decision on Sunday," manager Don Mattingly said. "We're a little bit day to day with Hyun-jin, but he's been pretty good about letting us know how he feels."

Zack Greinke is recovering from a right calf strain and will start the opener against the Angels on Thursday, then will start second game of the season in San Diego on Tuesday. The Dodgers aren't moving Greinke up to pitch Sunday because he only threw 72 pitches in his last start in a minor league on Saturday and is still building up his pitch count.

"I'd like to be closer to 100 pitches," Greinke said Tuesday. "Endurance is not quite there yet."

Dan Haren pitched on Monday in a minor league game on Sunday and could either pitch on Saturday against the Angels or, if Ryu can't go, on Sunday in San Diego.

"Danny's ready for anything," Mattingly said.

Paul Maholm will throw in tonight's intrasquad game at Dodger Stadium, essentially for him a glorified bullpen session, and could conceivably fill in for Kershaw on Sunday.

"Everybody will be ready Sunday," Mattingly said. "Well, everybody but Clayton and Zack. We're getting all our guys ready for Sunday."

Mattingly also said it's likely a minor league pitcher will start Friday against the Angels, which could mean Zach Lee.