LOS ANGELES — As expected, the Dodgers placed left-hander Clayton Kershaw on the injured list on Friday, one day after he left a start with lower back pain.
Since first missing time with a herniated disc in 2016, Kershaw has lived with chronic back pain and the constant specter of injury. He has gone to the injured list multiple times in the six years since with iterations of the back issue. Most recently, the 34-year-old Kershaw spent a month on the IL earlier this season with sacroiliac joint inflammation in his lower back.
The three-time Cy Young Award winner was warming up before the fifth inning of a 5-3 victory over San Francisco on Thursday when he winced and pointed to the Dodgers’ dugout. He later walked off the field with a trainer.
“Just felt something kind of lock up there in the fifth and couldn’t really throw after that,” Kershaw said Thursday. “Something in my back again. … I saw a doctor, but really nothing to do until – just see how I wake up in the morning, is probably the first thing, and then go from there.”
Kershaw, a nine-time All-Star, is 7-3 with a 2.64 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 15 starts (85-1/3 innings).
In the short term, the Dodgers have two off days next week to absorb Kershaw’s subtraction from the starting rotation. In the longer view, Dustin May is expected to make two more rehab starts in Triple-A (though that will be re-evaluated after his next outing) before he could rejoin the Dodgers. And, eventually, the Dodgers hope Walker Buehler can return from his own injury before the end of the regular season.
Also Friday, the Dodgers activated utilityman Chris Taylor, who had missed a month with a fractured left foot. Taylor, who is batting .238 with six home runs and 27 RBIs in 74 games, was inserted into the starting lineup for Friday’s series opener against the Padres, batting fifth and playing second base.
The Dodgers, who have won 27 of their past 32 games going into Friday’s game, also recalled right-hander Reyes Moronta and optioned outfielder James Outman.
Moronta is 0-0 with a 4.67 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 17-1/3 innings. Outman went 6 for 13 with one homer and three RBIs in four games with the Dodgers.
More to come on this story.