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Dodgers' Kershaw frustrated being on DL

The SportsXchange

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his seven-year career, said he felt something in his upper back while playing long toss on Saturday, according to manager Don Mattingly.

The DL move comes after Kershaw told Mattingly on Friday that he no longer felt pain in the area.

"I'm not going to get into specifics,'' Kershaw told reporters Saturday. "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 gradually increasing the distance and velocity of his throws on Saturday when he felt a twinge on toss No. 27, according to ESPN.com

"I think that once Clayton felt something, he knew that he wasn't going to make his start on Friday,'' Mattingly said. "With his throwing progression, the fact that he stopped right away is all we've asked of him from the beginning: 'If you feel it at all, you've got to stop.' And he stopped right away.''

Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said he is not worried about Kershaw's injury.

"He was a lot better yesterday than when he threw than five days ago," Colletti told MLB Network Radio on Sunday. "We are just being cautious. It's not the labrum, not the shoulder, not the elbow. It's nothing of the main parts that people get a jittery on with a pitcher."

The 26-year-old left-hander is coming off his second Cy Young Award in three years. He already had been scratched from his scheduled start in San Diego on Sunday night after an MRI revealed the problem. Kershaw was hoping to get back in the rotation for Friday's home opener against the San Francisco Giants.

"He felt it, and that was the last straw,'' 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're not going to allow him to keep trying to push and go forward. If it was up to him, I'm sure he'd want to keep pushing to go further. ... We can't allow him to do that right now, period, at any time."

The move will be retroactive to March 23. Kershaw will be eligible to return from the DL list on April 7.

Kershaw has made 33 starts, has struck out at least 229 batters and has logged 227 2/3 innings or more in each of the last three seasons. He had a career-high 236 innings last year, when he finished 16-9 with an NL-best 232 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA.

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, allowing one run and five hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Hyun-Jin Ryu is slated to start Sunday night's mainland season opener against the Padres, will also slide into the home opener start on Friday.
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