The Dodgers have placed Clayton Kershaw on the injured list due to right SI joint inflammation, the club announced on Friday. As a corresponding move, lefty reliever Garrett Cleavinger was recalled from the minors. In more pressing matters, Kershaw was slated to start Friday against the Phillies and Walker Buehler will be pushed up to take that start instead.
The Dodgers have lost three of their last four, but are still tied for the best record in the NL.
The SI joint links the spine to the pelvis and inflammation can cause pain that extends down the legs, so it appears this is happening with Kershaw down his right leg.
Kershaw, 34, is in the midst of another elite season. Through five starts, he’s 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 32 strikeouts against only three walks in 30 innings. He’s certainly blazing a path to his ninth All-Star game and this time it’s in Dodger Stadium.
Here in the near term, the Dodgers are in a bit of a predicament with their rotation. Kershaw joins Andrew Heaney (shoulder) on the injured list while Danny Duffy and Dustin May work their way back from major injuries.
What remains of the rotation behind Buehler and Julio Urías would be Tony Gonsolin (who has been excellent to this point) and Tyler Anderson, the latter of whom coughed up seven runs on 10 hits in six innings Thursday night. He was likely extended longer than his performance dictated due to this rotation crunch.
Urías and Gonsolin could each pitch on normal rest to round out the weekend series, but then another starter would be needed on Monday and there’s a doubleheader Tuesday. Youngster Ryan Pepiot took a spot start on Wednesday and perhaps he’ll get some more shots.
Past Pepiot, Andre Jackson and Michael Grove could be options for the short term.
The biggest concern here, though, would be Kershaw. He has now had injured list stints due to a herniated disc, a lower back strain, lower back discomfort, back stiffness and this SI joint. That’s five lower-back injuries since 2016.