Remember that lower back soreness that Clayton Kershaw has been experiencing of late? Well, it hasn't gone away and as a result the Dodgers will send their ace back to Los Angeles where he will have his back examined.
At the very least, it puts Kershaw's scheduled Friday start in doubt, not to mention the potential implications of missing even more time depending on the results of his further examination. The news came during manager Dave Roberts' pregame scrum with the media on Tuesday in Milwaukee, before the club's series opener against the Brewers.
Kershaw flying back to LA to have back examined— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 28, 2016
Kershaw will be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, the team's back specialist.— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) June 28, 2016
Kershaw is at Miller Park with the team today. Scheduled to fly back to LA Wednesday morning, see back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 28, 2016
Roberts said the issue is back soreness, not hip as in past.— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) June 28, 2016
Dave Roberts said Kershaw's back has not improved and is still "Hopeful" he can make his next start #Dodgers— David Vassegh (@THEREAL_DV) June 28, 2016
#Dodgers Roberts on Kershaw making start Friday: "We’re hopeful. I think we’ll know more once he gets some tests and we see where we’re at"— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) June 28, 2016
Kershaw has made just one trip to the disabled list in his career, missing five weeks in 2014 with a teres major muscle strain, in his upper back. This soreness is in Kershaw's lower back.
The Dodgers are already starting Brock Stewart on Wednesday, making his major league debut, one of three straight rookie pitchers starting in Milwaukee. If the Dodgers are forced to replace Kershaw on Friday, if not longer, the rotation would be in full scramble mode.
For what it's worth, Jharel Cotton started Sunday for Triple-A Oklahoma City and is on the 40-man roster. He would be on regular rest if Kershaw can't make his scheduled start.
If this is a short-term injury for Kershaw — and this is just pure speculation — he could be placed on the disabled list and get over three weeks off while only missing two starts, thanks to the All-Star break. Kershaw only has two starts before the break as it is, slated to pitch Friday against Colorado then next Wednesday against Baltimore. His total time missed would then depend on where he is slotted in the rotation after the break, when the Dodgers open a series in Arizona on July 15.
But that is weeks away. First, we need to see what the results of Kershaw's examination with Dr. Watkins.