DENVER -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been sidelined since July 7 with a left forearm injury and the left-hander isn’t expected back until sometime in August, according to manager Dave Roberts.
Kershaw still hasn’t played catch since being shut down over the weekend and won’t do so for at least another couple of days. Once he begins playing catch, the Dodgers will then build him back up, which will take another couple of weeks.
“I think that this is something that once it kind of came about, it made sense to kind of take the time to cut some of the season off and save some bullets for the rest of the season and throughout the postseason,” Roberts said. “We feel good about it. I’m not sure exactly when he’s going to start playing catch again, but I feel good about the process.”
Kershaw said the discomfort in the elbow area is something that has “been building over time” and it wasn’t just something that popped up as he played catch or on a single pitch. The good news is that everything checked out well in the MRI, which naturally gave Kershaw and the Dodgers some relief.
“I really haven’t had many elbow things before,” Kershaw said. “I think it was good to get a good bill of health from an MRI, for sure. I wouldn’t say [I was] nervous, but I haven’t really had any elbow stuff, so it was a little uneasy, I guess.”
Roberts said the Dodgers aren’t worried about any lingering issues with Kershaw's forearm and the left-hander didn’t experience any additional soreness after playing catch on July 9. The Dodgers will continue to take a long-term approach with Kershaw’s injury, something Roberts said the Dodgers planned on doing with each of their starters when the season started.
In an ideal world, the Dodgers would give Walker Buehler and Julio Urías a blow, but the perfect circumstance hasn’t presented itself. The Dodgers came into the season with eight options in the starting rotation, but that has been trimmed to just four healthy options -- Buehler, Urías, David Price and Tony Gonsolin. Price was inserted into the starting rotation after spending the first three months in the bullpen.
Aside from allowing him to be healthier for the stretch run, the Dodgers also want to make sure the injury doesn’t linger. Kershaw said he has a date in mind for when he’s aiming to return, but wouldn’t share it.
“I think everybody wants me to be back as fast as possible, but I also want to be as good as I can in October,” Kershaw said. “It’s just kind of playing that game, just trying to figure out the best timing for everything. It’s not an exact science, but I think we’re on the right page right now.”
With Kershaw sidelined for at least another couple of weeks, the Dodgers will have to make a decision on what they’ll do with their fifth spot in the rotation, which will land on Tuesday against the Giants. A bullpen game could be an option, something the Dodgers became familiar with as they waited for Gonsolin to complete his rehab assignment.
Calling up a starter from the Minors is also a possibility. The Dodgers' top pitching prospect, and No. 2 overall, Josiah Gray is “on the table” for a spot start on Tuesday, according to Roberts. After missing two months with a right shoulder impingement, Gray tossed 4 2/3 innings for Triple-A OKC on Thursday. His next start is scheduled for Tuesday.
Since returning from the IL, Gray has allowed three runs on five hits and has struck out 12 over 10 2/3 innings.
“Everyone is on the table,” Roberts said. “But come Tuesday after Monday, we’ll just see what’s best to win that day’s baseball game.”
The Dodgers will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1981 World Series team next weekend at Dodger Stadium.
Mark Bradley, Ron Cey, Mark Cresse, Pepe Frias, Steve Garvey, Pedro Guerrero, Burt Hooton, Ken Landreaux, Candy Maldonado, Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Tom Niedenfuer, Alejandro Pena, Jerry Reuss, Ron Roenicke, Bill Russell, Steve Sax, Derrel Thomas, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Yeager are expected to attend the reunion.
The members of the team will be signing autographs in the Centerfield Plaza prior to the games on Friday and Saturday and they’ll be honored during pregame ceremonies on Sunday.