Dodgers and MLB MVP Clayton Kershaw is headed to the DL after receiving a epidural shot in his back.
Kershaw is in the midst of a historic season, having worked to a 1.79 ERA, 10.8 K/9, 0.7 BB/9 and a 49.8 percent ground-ball rate through an MLB-best 121 innings thus far. He’s on pace to shatter Phil Hughes’ MLB record for strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.63), having posted an otherworldly 16.1 K/BB ratio to this point. Kershaw will join fellow starters Brett Anderson, Brandon McCarthy, Hyun-jin Ryu and Alex Wood on the disabled list.
As a fellow bad back suffer, I quite literally feel his pain. My doctor just recently begun to start discussing an epidural of my own. Additionally, I was rather excited to watch Kershaw face off against my own Baltimore Orioles on their current West Coast trip. Sadly, all of baseball is at a loss of the best player in the game. Hopefully he has a speedy recovery.
ScoutsUpdate: Kershaw’s rehab hit a major setback and has been shut down indefinitely.
It was Watkins who initially prescribed an epidural for Kershaw’s herniated disk last month. And it was Watkins who listened to Kershaw relay a recurrence of soreness in his lower back and advised him to rest until the discomfort subsided.
The setback pulls the rug out beneath a franchise awaiting the return of its left-handed anchor. On Tuesday, before the Dodgers faced the Washington Nationals, Manager Dave Roberts referred to a return date for Kershaw as “uncertain.”
“When you’re dealing with the back, there’s always some concern, certainly,” Roberts said. “But you’re just hoping in the coming days there is some improvement.”
There is no timetable for Kershaw’s return, and as has been noted, the Dodgers are significantly worse without him than with him. For the moment, team doctors are attempting to stay as optimistic as possible.
His optimism was misguided. The symptoms Kershaw felt Sunday were similar to how he felt before the epidural, Roberts said. Kershaw has not picked up a baseball since Saturday, but team officials do not expect him to completely restart his throwing program in order to build up arm strength.
Neither do the Dodgers believe Kershaw will require another pain-killing injection. One team official described the prospect of surgery as “very unlikely.” The team planned to monitor Kershaw on a daily basis and see how he recovers.
“I don’t know if it’s a step back,” Roberts said. “But we’re going to let the back pain subside and see where we go.”