Clayton Kershaw has one quality start under his belt after pitching the Los Angeles Dodgers to victory in their Australian opener against the Arizona Diamondbacks. But it's not known when he'll go for his second after an MRI on Wednesday revealed inflammation of the Teres Major muscle in his upper back.
The Dodgers have already announced that Kershaw will be scratched form his scheduled start against the San Diego Padres on Sunday night, which throws up an immediate red flag. However, the team has also indicated their $215 million ace will resume throwing next week, and further determinations will be made from there based on how he responds.
The fact they're confident he'll be throwing next week indicates they're simply taking extra caution with their most valuable commodity. Yahoo's Tim Brown supported that notion not long after the Dodgers announcement.
I understand Kershaw fought Dodgers on decision to scratch him from start. So, again, extreme caution here.
— Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) March 27, 2014
Precautionary or otherwise, we can still add Kershaw's name to an ever-growing list of Dodgers dealing with nicks and pains heading into their stateside opener. Both Yasiel Puig and Adrian Gonzalez dealt with back issues in Australia. In Puig's case, he's still receiving treatment.
Matt Kemp is expected to miss a few days in the regular season as he continues to get in shape following offseason ankle surgery.
Pitchers Zack Greinke, Josh Beckett and Dan Haren have also been slowed by various ailments and couldn't make the trip to Australia either. All three are expected to return in short order, but they will all be a little behind in terms of preparation.
It's a long, expensive list that emphasizes how vital it is to have depth across the board. Even the Dodgers, who recently passed the New York Yankees for MLB's highest payroll, are struggling to withstand the rigors of a 162-game schedule, and they still have 160 games to go.
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