Clayton Kershaw’s injured list stint for left forearm inflammation is expected to last longer than 10 days, with the Dodgers eying the long season.
“He’ll start playing catch here in the next few days, then we’ll kind of build him back up,” manager Dave Roberts said Friday. “This is something that, with the soreness, and taking some time off to build back up for the sprint, I think it makes sense, and Clayton’s on board with that.”
Kershaw has a 3.39 ERA and 2.99 FIP in his 106⅓ innings in his 18 starts this season, already more than his 89 total innings last year counting the postseason. But even ignoring the massive jump after the truncated season, Kershaw averaged 166 innings from 2016-19 during the regular season, never more than 178⅓ innings during that time.
Before getting placed on the injured list on July 7, Kershaw was on pace for 196 innings during the regular season, a total he hasn’t reached since 2015.
“This is something that once it came about, it made sense to cut some of the season off, and save some bullets for the rest of the season, and the postseason,” Roberts said. “We feel good about it.”
With Kershaw out for at least a little while longer, the Dodgers will need to fill his spot in the starting rotation, beginning next week. Roberts said rather than using a bullpen game, the Dodgers will call someone up internally to make a start.
On the 40-man roster, the only real option is Mitch White, who pitched four innings for the Dodgers on July 7 in Miami, then pitched six scoreless innings for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Monday. For now, White is slated to start on Sunday for Oklahoma City. In the majors this season, White has allowed 17 runs (eight earned) and 27 baserunners in 18⅓ innings, with 19 strikeouts.
Josiah Gray is the Dodgers best pitching prospect and after missing two months with a right shoulder impingement has built up in his last three games in Triple-A, including 4⅔ innings and 68 pitches on Thursday. Of the 23-year-old right-hander, who has a 2.87 ERA and 4.00 FIP to go with 22 strikeouts against only two walks in 15⅔ minor league innings, Roberts said, “he’s on the table” to be called up.
Given that Gray pitched Thursday, the most likely date for him to start for the Dodgers would be Tuesday, which lines up perfectly for when the Dodgers will next need a starter. Against the Rockies this weekend, Julio Urías, Walker Buehler, and David Price will start for the Dodgers, with Tony Gonsolin presumably starting the series opener against the Giants on Monday in Los Angeles.
Corey Seager will play in a game for five or six innings at Camelback Ranch on Saturday, and will take three at-bats.
Victor González starts a minor league rehab assignment Friday night with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga. “If all goes well, we’ll assess if he’s going to be back within a few days, or do another rehab outing,” Roberts said.
Jimmy Nelson is with the team in Denver and expected to play catch Friday. He could be activated during the Giants series.
The Rockies placed four players on the injured list per MLB’s COVID testing and contact-tracing protocols. Antonio Senzatela, who was slated to start on the mound Friday, is joined on the IL by pitchers Yency Almonte and Jhoulys Chacín, plus outfielder Yonathan Daza.
Manager Bud Black and first base coach Ron Gideon will also miss Friday’s game due to COVID protocols. Roberts said he and the Dodgers who were at the All-Star Game all had additional COVID testing this week. “From what I understand, we were all negative,” he said.
Bench coach Mike Redmond will manage the Rockies on Friday. Colorado also recalled pitchers Ben Bowden and Antonio Santos, and outfielder Sam Hilliard from Triple-A Albuquerque, and selected pitcher Zac Rosscup to fill in as well. Chi Chi Gonzalez will start on the mound in place of Senzatela.