Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
The Los Angeles Dodgers were forced to tap into their starting pitching depth on multiple occasions less than one week into the regular season as both Clayton Kershaw and Alex Wood were placed on the injured list.
Kershaw was sidelined by back stiffness that prevented him from making a ninth career Opening Day start. He experienced the discomfort two days before the 2020 season began and though there was improvement, it was not at the level the Dodgers felt comfortable starting him.
Kershaw admitted his latest brush with back trouble was “defeating,” but he was adamant a quick return was in the cards. Kershaw’s confidence was not only fueled by daily improvement but also an MRI coming back negative.
He threw a bullpen session at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday, which by all accounts went well. However, rather than be penciled back into the rotation, the Dodgers elected to have their longtime ace throw again Thursday.
“Really good, really good. It was probably 30 or 32 (pitches), the ball was coming out well, used his entire mix,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said of the side session. “We look forward to him pitching soon. We’re really encouraged. We’re going to wait to see how he feels tomorrow.”
Although the Dodgers faced a need for a starter Friday night, Kershaw had already been ruled out prior to throwing at Chase Field. The Dodgers subsequently announced Tony Gonsolin was joining the team from their alternate training site at USC to make his 2020 debut.
Roberts indicated Kershaw is likely to be activated for a start Sunday or the following day in the series opener against the San Diego Padres.
Wood shut down by Dodgers
While there has been steady progress with Kershaw in his recovery, the same can’t yet be said for Wood as he is on the mend since being sidelined by shoulder inflammation on July 28.
“Alex was supposed to not pick up a baseball for a week,” Roberts said after Thursday’s win. “We just want to let that inflammation subside and see where it takes us. Right now he’s just hanging out and letting his arm rest.”
Roberts had previously said the Dodgers did not have a timetable for Wood’s return but that he didn’t anticipate a lengthy IL stint.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!