Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw placed on injured list, Dustin May to start Opening Night

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 03: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws at a summer workout in preparation for a shortened season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Dodger Stadium on July 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 03: Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws at a summer workout in preparation for a shortened season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Dodger Stadium on July 03, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Clayton Kershaw will miss the beginning of the 2020 season.


Just as the Los Angeles Dodgers were preparing for Opening Night against the San Francisco Giants, a four-month event in the making, the team announced that starter Clayton Kershaw has been placed on the injured list with back stiffness.

Kershaw was set to make his 9th Opening Day start, a franchise record. He reported to summer camp in seemingly great shape, pitching up to six innings during intra-squad games. Everything looked good to go. This latest news comes out of nowhere.

Dustin May is suddenly the Opening Day starter

Earlier in the day, the Dodgers had optioned top prospect Dustin May to the team’s alternate workout site at USC. However, he was told yesterday that it was possible he could have to fill in for Kershaw. He will now get the opportunity to start on opening night.

Roberts told reporters during a Zoom meeting that Kershaw hurt his back in the weight room during a workout on Tuesday.

"“It was a workout on Tuesday, his back stiffened up, he got treatment on it, felt a little better,” Roberts said. “This morning, with the training staff, he didn’t feel it was prudent to start him.”"

The Dodgers manager said the timeline for when Kershaw will return is uncertain. However, his IL date will be back-dated, which would make him available as early as the Arizona series next week.

Roberts said that May has built up to the point where he is ready to make the start in Kershaw’s place. He also feels he has the right make-up to handle the sudden assignment.

May made his major league debut last season, making four starts out of his 14 appearances. The 22-year-old was impressive in those starts, pitching to a 2.82 ERA, striking out 17 while walking only three in 22.1 innings of work as a starter. It was out of the bullpen where he struggled a bit last season, with his ERA ballooning to 5.11 in ten appearances.

As news broke about Kershaw, another surprise was seeing the lineup posted by the team. Max Muncy will bat lead-off with Mookie Betts hitting behind him in the two hole. Roberts told reporters on Thursday afternoon that they like the way they can stagger lefty and righty hitters by setting the order with Muncy, Betts, Bellinger, Turner, and Seager offsetting each other.

Betts has traditionally been a lead-off hitter during his career.

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