Clayton Kershaw needs more rest before bullpen session

When the Los Angeles Dodgers put Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day injury list on May 13 with a right SI joint injury, there was optimism he would make a quick return.

Dodgers managers Dave Roberts and Kershaw both predicted the left-hander would be activated either on the first day he was eligible or shortly thereafter. “I’m not feeling great right now, but hopefully it won’t be too long and I’ll be out there again,” Kershaw said at the time.

He declined to give details of the injury, which is often referred to as sacroiliitis and can cause discomfort in the buttocks or lower back and extend down one or both legs. Roberts said Kershaw’s pain was in his back.

He was given epidural anesthesia but did not bring the relief he was expecting. A scheduled bullpen session last Wednesday was canceled because Kershaw failed to move beyond discomfort.

As he continued throwing, Roberts said the left-hander probably won’t come off the mound for a couple of weeks now, via SportsNet LA:

“He’s back home in Texas right now, he’s not traveling with us. He’s going to meet us in Arizona and then hopefully we can play tag and see where we are. It could spin and speed up, but I just don’t want to put it under a timeline.

Although the epidural didn’t relieve Kershaw’s back pain, Roberts said there were no further concerns and rest should help resolve the issue:

“He had a scan and obviously the epidural as well. From what we’ve heard, it’s something that allows rest so that the sharpness of the pain subsides. I think the scan was actually very encouraging.”

Kershaw’s back injury was the second the Dodgers picked up on their starting rotation, after Andrew Heaney previously went to the IL with a left shoulder infection.

Kershaw previously struggled with various back injuries in the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 seasons. Last year he suffered from left forearm/elbow infections twice, the second instance preventing him from playing in the postseason.

Clayton Kershaw’s health

After Kershaw spent most of the offseason recovering from elbow problems, Kershaw went down 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, .73 WHIP and 32 strikeouts against three walks in five starts. He threw seven scoreless innings against the Chicago Cubs in his last game before going to the IL.

Alongside a renaissance season, Kershaw and the Dodgers were encouraged by his overall health.

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