ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is headed to the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career because of a swollen muscle in his left upper back.
The 26-year-old left-hander, coming off his second Cy Young Award in three years, already had been scratched from his scheduled start in San Diego on Sunday after an MRI revealed the problem.
"I'm not going to get into specifics," Kershaw told reporters. "I can't pitch right now. It's frustrating. I've been hurt before where I knew when I'd be able to pitch. I'm getting better right now, just not fast enough. You don't feel like you're a part of the team when you're hurt. It's not a good feeling."
Kershaw was on a throwing program and was tossing the ball at different distances Saturday before the team's Freeway Series finale against the Angels when he experienced some discomfort on his 27th throw. The team said he will be placed on the DL on Sunday.
"He felt it, and that was the last straw," manager Don Mattingly said. "So at that point, we knew we couldn't have gone any farther and that it was a DL situation. It's a situation — not just for me, but for everyone — that we've got to save Clayton from Clayton at this point and be cautious. We can't allow him to try to keep pushing and go forward. If it was up to him, I'm sure he'd want to go farther. But we can't allow him to do that right now."
Kershaw, who signed a $215 million, seven-year contract on Jan. 15, won the Dodgers' season opener 3-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia last weekend.
The three-time All-Star was hoping to get back in the rotation for Friday's home opener against San Francisco, but instead it will be Hyun-Jin Ryu, who also will get the assignment Sunday in San Diego against Andrew Cashner. Ryu started and won the second game of the Australia trip, but tore a toenail while running the bases that day and wasn't sure he'd be able to fill in for Kershaw until after his side session Friday.
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