Dodgers News: Dustin May Starting Opening Day As Clayton Kershaw Placed On Injured List

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The Los Angeles Dodgers placed Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day injured list with back stiffness and recalled Dustin May from their alternate training site at USC. May was somewhat of a surprise omission when the Dodgers officially set their Opening Day roster.

Particularly when taking into account he appeared likely to piggyback with Walker Buehler against the Houston Astros on Tuesday. May is eligible to return because he replaces an injured player on the active roster.

May himself was slowed during Spring Training because of a side issue, but he managed to make a full recovery during MLB’s shutdown. He now becomes the first Dodgers rookie pitcher to start on Opening Day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

Coincidentally, that too was in what became a shortened season. The Dodgers of course went on to win the World Series.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts expressed confidence May is capable of handling the emotions and adrenaline that come with starting a season opener. “He’s just very unflappable,” Roberts said. “He’s a very confident young man, who’s got very good stuff.”

Back strikes again

For Kershaw, this represents a frustrating return to back trouble that has plagued him over recent years. Last year he dealt with an arm issue

Kershaw reported to Spring Training in good health and optimistic about the season that lied ahead. He suffered the latest injury Tuesday while working out in the weight room, though Roberts was not sure which exercise led to the discomfort.

Kershaw received treatment Tuesday and Wednesday, and reported improvement in his condition. However, he was not 100% upon arriving at Dodger Stadium, which led to the Dodgers making a change.

“Just to make sure we err on the side of caution, didn’t feel it was prudent to start him,” Roberts said.

Aside from the minimum days required for a stint on the IL, Roberts couldn’t forecast how long the Dodgers may be without their longtime ace. “I don’t know the timeline,” he said.

“We all know Clayton and the training staff are going to do everything they can to get him back as soon as possible.”

Roberts emphasized the team would not rush a return despite facing a 60-game sprint this season. The Dodgers do plan to backdate Kershaw’s IL stint, which would make him eligible to return during next week’s four-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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