Opening day for the Dodgers already hasn’t gone as planned. Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list before Thursday night’s opener, with back stiffness. He won’t be making the start, which would have been his ninth Opening Day start.
Instead, that nod goes to Dustin May, who wasn’t on the club’s Opening Day roster released earlier Thursday. May was recalled, and will start against the Giants instead.
Kershaw’s back stiffened during workouts in the weight room Tuesday, Dave Roberts said Thursday.
“This morning, the training staff, just to make sure we erred on the side of caution, didn’t feel it was prudent to start him,” Roberts said.
May was scheduled to pitch a simulated game in a voluntary workout on Wednesday’s off day, but that was put on hold while the club decided what to do with Kershaw. May last pitched last Friday, throwing four scoreless innings in the Dodgers’ intrasquad game.
At 22 years, 321 days old, May is the youngest Opening Day starting pitcher for the Dodgers since Fernando Valenzuela (22 years, 155 days) in 1983.
“He’s just very unflappable. He’s a very confident young man, who’s got very good stuff,” Roberts said. “When a change of plans happens, Dustin adjusts very well.”
As of now there is no timetable for when Kershaw might return, but the injured list move was backdated to July 20 (the maximum allowed), meaning the earliest Kershaw would be eligible to pitch is against the Diamondbacks next weekend in Phoenix.