Clayton Kershaw last pitched for the Dodgers on July 3, and when he next appears in a game for them it could be two months later. Kershaw is still experiencing soreness in his left elbow, pausing a throwing program that originally had designs of him pitching this weekend against the Angels.
That won’t happen, not since Kershaw felt soreness in his elbow in the days following a three-inning simulated game in San Francisco on July 27.
“I just tried to come back too fast, which is a bummer. After the sim game, it didn’t respond well, and it’s frustrating,” Kershaw said on Friday at Dodger Stadium. “It’s still nothing serious, but it’s just something that’s going to take a little bit of time. It’s not fun. Being hurt is miserable, and I really don’t enjoy it at all.
“I’m going to do everything I can to be back, and I think I will be, but it’s definitely looking more September than August.”
Manager Dave Roberts agreed with that timeline for Kershaw, noting that every test they’ve done on his elbow has come back clean.
“Right now we just want to make sure it’s out, the soreness, and then when he picks up a baseball, we can start building up and go from there,” Roberts said.
Other than being a definite playoff starter if he’s healthy, Kershaw is in a similar situation to three other Dodgers starters currently on the injured list.
Danny Duffy, out he last two weeks with a right flexor strain and acquired from the Royals on July 29, is expected to be out until late August or September, depending on whether his role will be starting or in the bullpen.
Cole Hamels, just signed by the Dodgers on Wednesday, will pitch a two-inning simulated game on Saturday at Dodger Stadium, and then build up from there after throwing only 3⅓ major league innings since the start of 2020. His contract calls for the Dodgers to call him up by September 2, per the Associated Press.
Tony Gonsolin is on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, an injury that cost him the first two months of the season as well. Of this injured quartet, Gonsolin might be available the earliest, but even that is unknown at this point.
“It hasn’t been as long since he picked up a baseball, but right now he’s shut down,” Roberts said of Gonsolin on Friday. “How long it takes him to resume throwing, that will determine where he’s at as far as his time to return.”
The Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter until next weekend in New York, but Tuesday starts a stretch of 22 games in 23 days, so they will need to fill innings every fifth game or so probably for at least a few weeks just to get to the point where one of those pitchers is ready.
Kershaw will be the one to watch, given his status and importance to the team and rotation. But for now, that means quite a bit of waiting.
“We’re up against the calendar, so there’s only so much you can rest before you go,” Kershaw said. “We’re going to rest as long as we can to give myself a good chance to pitch meaningful games in September, and be ready to go in October.”