The Dodgers season has taken many hits so far this year but the latest one is the hardest blow of the season. Clayton Kershaw was placed on the disabled list.
The Dodgers announced on Sunday that ace Clayton Kershaw was placed on the disabled list with biceps tendonitis. While it’s not yet known how severe the injury is, it’s important to note that bicep tendonitis is often a precursor to more serious injuries like sprained elbow ligaments. The Dodgers have called up Brock Stewart to replace Kershaw in the rotation.
This latest setback for the Dodgers is a rather large one. The Dodgers are now without Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Yasiel Puig, and now Clayton Kershaw. Hyun-Jin Ryu is already on the disabled list until July at least, and Rich Hill was scheduled to come off the disabled list today but he is still on the disabled list and was scratched from today’s start.
Everyone was beginning to wonder if Clayton Kershaw was beginning to decline. He currently has a 2.86 ERA which is very good for 95% of starting pitchers in the game but for Clayton Kershaw that is subpar. His fastball velocity has been 90-91 miles per hour consistently which is a tick down from last season where he averaged 93-94 miles per hour on his heater.
In his start against the Marlins, he walked six batters which tied his career high. That was another sign that something seemed wrong with Kershaw. Kershaw has dealt with numerous back injuries over the past few seasons so that brings up the possibility that Kershaw could have developed tendonitis by altering his mechanics slightly to compensate for his ailing back.
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The Dodgers have also made deep playoff runs over the past couple of seasons which only adds to an already large workload. The San Francisco Giants faced similar issues to their starting rotation after their numerous playoff runs. Kershaw is scheduled to fly back to Los Angeles to be further examined so all we can do is hope that the exam shows nothing more than minor biceps tendonitis. Tendonitis is an injury that is only healed with rest, although the length of rest needed is not an exact science.
In the meantime, the Dodgers will use a rotation of Brock Stewart, Walker Buehler, Kenta Maeda, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill when he comes off the DL. If Kershaw’s injury ends up being a long-term injury it’s unclear who might be available for trade with the season being very young still. The free agent market is very bare, with John Lackey and Matt Garza being the most recognizable names still available. The Dodgers are better off letting Brock Stewart get an extended look or possibly moving Ross Stripling into the rotation.
In the coming days it’s likely that more information is known about the extent of Kershaw’s injury, but for now, it’s evident there is a still a dark cloud hanging over the Dodgers.