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Clayton Kershaw placed on injured list with left forearm inflammation

Dodgers down to 3 starting pitchers on the active roster

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation, further depleting a starting rotation already getting thinner by the day.

Kershaw’s last start came Saturday in Washington D.C., allowing three runs in a start shortened by rain to just four innings. On the season, Kershaw has a 3.39 ERA, 2.99 FIP and 127 strikeouts in 106⅓ innings.

Kershaw first felt something while playing catch on the road trip after that Saturday start.

It’s possible he could miss only one start, but manager Dave Roberts said he doesn’t yet know the severity of the injury. Kershaw will get tests on his left arm once the Dodgers return home this weekend.

“Obviously there’s a lot left in the season, so to kind of push him through doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Roberts said. “We’re just trying to get ahead of it.”

The All-Star break will soothe some of this, but at the Dodgers are down to three healthy, active starters in Walker Buehler, Julio Urías, and Tony Gonsolin. The next pitcher on the totem pole is likely top prospect Josiah Gray, but he just returned from missing two months with a shoulder impingement and threw only two innings in his first game back with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday.

The Dodgers already had a bullpen game on Sunday, and another Wednesday night in Miami. They called up Mitch White on Wednesday, giving the club 11 active relievers. And they need all of them.

Blake Treinen has pitched three of the last four days, and both Phil Bickford and Garrett Cleavinger pitched four times in the last six days. Scott Alexander has pitched the last two days since getting activated, and pitched four of the last six days counting his minor league rehab assignment. Jimmy Nelson threw 20 pitches on Tuesday and has pitched on back-to-back days just once this season, on April 30 and May 1.

Adding White makes six bullpen roster moves in the last six days, an astonishing roster churn. In the middle of a stretch of 11 straight game days before the All-Star break, and only four starting pitchers, the bullpen has been worked heavily of late, to the tune of 28⅔ innings and 28 appearances by 12 different relievers on the first six games of the road trip.

They’ve done quite well, allowing only seven runs (four earned runs) with 33 strikeouts and a 1.26 ERA. But that’s a lot to ask of any bullpen, especially given the relievers have to cover the entire game on Wednesday.

Here’s a look at the bullpen usage on the road trip by the 11 pitchers currently on the active roster.

Dodgers bullpen usage in July

Pitchers Thu, Jul 1 Fri, Jul 2 Sat, Jul 3 Sun, Jul 4 Mon, Jul 5 Tue, Jul 6
Pitchers Thu, Jul 1 Fri, Jul 2 Sat, Jul 3 Sun, Jul 4 Mon, Jul 5 Tue, Jul 6
Kenley Jansen 1/18
Blake Treinen 1/16 1/11 1+/27
Jimmy Nelson 1/13 1/10 1/20
Joe Kelly 1/24 1/19
David Price 2/42
Phil Bickford 0.1/13 1/7 1.1/24 0.1/2
Scott Alexander lhp 1/10* 1/10* 1/14 0.2/27
Garrett Cleavinger lhp 1/12 0.1/19 1/19 0.2/14
Jake Reed 1/23* 0.2/22
Edwin Uceta 1/19
Mitch White 3/53*
innings/pitches (e.g. 1/18 is one inning, 18 pitches) *Triple-A game

Jake Reed starts Wednesday’s bullpen game for the Dodgers, and is expected to pitch to four or five batters, Roberts said.

With Kershaw penciled in for a Friday start at home, that will be probably be a bullpen game now, too. When asked earlier Wednesday about David Price’s availability, Roberts said, “He’s certainly available. I think the idea would be to stay away from him, so he can pitch in bulk on Friday.”

That was before Kershaw’s injury was announced.

Left-hander Darien Nuñez is also with the team in Miami, though he has not yet been activated.

In 16 games this season (15 with Triple-A Oklahoma City, one in Double-A Tulsa), Nuñez has a 2.70 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 15 walks in 30 innings.