LOS ANGELES -- With one series left to play before the All-Star break, the Dodgers are a step closer to putting an injury-riddled first half behind them.
An MRI on Friday provided positive news on ace Clayton Kershaw, who was placed on the 10-day injured list with left forearm inflammation on Wednesday.
“Clayton had an MRI this morning and just like we expected, it was just inflammation,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He's going to start playing catch again [Saturday] and enjoy the break with his family. We'll figure out when in the second half we'll pencil him back in the rotation.”
Kershaw pitched last Saturday against the Nationals, his 18th start of the season. He allowed three runs on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts over four innings, throwing 54 pitches (34 strikes).
The abbreviated start wasn’t due to injury, however. It was because of a 1-hour, 44-minute rain delay in Washington. Kershaw experienced soreness a few days after that start, which prompted the Dodgers to err on the side of caution.
“It was soreness, and he's never had soreness in his elbow,” Roberts said. “So we just wanted to kind of check all the boxes and make sure that there was nothing else to it. Fortunately, there wasn't.”
Kershaw would have made one more start before the All-Star break, as he was originally scheduled to pitch Friday against the D-backs. It's still unclear when he'll return to the mound.
“I think it's all contingent on today, and then we'll kind of know more as he plays catch,” Roberts said. “But I think for us, just making sure that we get that inflammation to dissipate and go from there.”
While Kershaw works his way back, Los Angeles will lean on the remaining members of its staff. Left-hander David Price got the start Friday (his first since June 1 after mostly working out of the bullpen this season), while Walker Buehler and Tony Gonsolin are scheduled to start the final two games against Arizona.
The Dodgers needed their relievers to pitch 37 1/3 innings during their recent eight-game road trip, then Price started a bullpen game on Friday. But as the break approaches, the team can breath easier knowing the severity of Kershaw's injury is better than expected.
“I think that we all felt that there was going to be nothing from it,” Roberts said. “But just to get confirmation, [it] certainly is a very good thing.”