Dodgers place Clayton Kershaw on IL due to ailing left shoulder

ByAlden Gonzalez ESPN logo
Tuesday, July 4, 2023

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, battling inflammation in his pitching shoulder for the past six days, was placed on the 15-day injured list Monday, the day he was initially scheduled to make his 17th start of the season.

Michael Grove was called up from Triple-A to start in Kershaw's place, and Gavin Stone was added to the roster -- replacing lefty reliever Victor Gonzalez -- to provide length out of the bullpen.

Kershaw, who recently received a cortisone injection, is eligible to be activated as early as July 15, the Dodgers' second game after the All-Star break. The team is hopeful he'll be back right around then.

"Right now, every day, there's been improvement, which is great," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said prior to Monday's 5-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "The thought is to keep his arm moving so it's not going to be some downtime as far as not throwing the baseball."

Kershaw, 35, had served as the anchor of the Dodgers' beleaguered pitching staff for the first half of this season, going 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA while striking out 105 batters in 95 innings and taking every turn through the rotation. His production earned him his 10th selection to the All-Star Game. Now the National League will have to fill his spot on the roster.

Kershaw expressed disappointment that his 7-year-old son, Charley, won't watch him pitch in Seattle.

"We're still going to go and have a good time and everything," said Kershaw, who played catch in the outfield prior to Monday's game. "But he's getting into it now. For him to see that, that would've been cool."

Kershaw established himself as arguably the best pitcher of his era by combining dominance with reliability, averaging 222 innings per season while posting a 2.24 ERA from 2010 to 2015. But the three-time Cy Young Award winner hasn't surpassed the 200-inning mark since. The ensuing eight years have included 11 trips to the IL.

The 2023 season was looking like one in which Kershaw might hold up for a full season. The velocity on his fastball and the life on his slider had ticked back up. Hip mobility exercises had taken some of the pressure off his troublesome back. But Kershaw pulled himself out of his start in Colorado on Tuesday with two outs in the sixth inning, immediately after allowing his first hit on a toasty night at high altitude.

Kershaw later said "the ball wasn't coming out as good as I wanted" in the final inning and that he stayed in only to keep his no-hitter alive. In the days that followed, Kershaw did his best to stay off the IL and potentially make his next scheduled start. He ultimately ran out of time.

"Just the way the season was going, I had hoped that I could make it through a full season," Kershaw said. "I haven't done that in a while. It's always something that I want to do. So any time that doesn't work out, that's definitely frustrating for me. But where we're at in the season and with the break, it's probably overall a good thing to take a little break now. Ideally I wish I could've skipped a start and made the next one, but that's not where we're at with our pitching. Sometimes roster decisions take precedent, and I understand that."

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