The Los Angeles Dodgers have not seemed overly concerned about the shoulder soreness Clayton Kershaw has dealt with for a few weeks, but we now know it is serious enough that the left-hander will not be ready to pitch on Opening Day.
On Monday, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed that Kershaw will not be the team’s Opening Day starter.
#Dodgers Clayton Kershaw will not start Opening Day Dave Roberts says definitively. “When he’s ready to pitch for us is when he’ll pitch for us.”
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 18, 2019
Roberts said any of LA’s other starters could potentially take the ball in Kershaw’s place. That includes Walker Buehler, who has also been battling an injury but will make his first start of spring training on Wednesday.
Kershaw was shut down last month after complaining of arm discomfort following one of his bullpen sessions, and he has since begun throwing again. He made it threw a bullpen session last week without any setbacks, so it’s possible the Dodgers are just playing things safe.
Kershaw has not thrown more than 200 innings in a season since 2016, and his velocity was way down last year. Despite that, he still finished with a 2.73 ERA in 26 starts, and the Dodgers felt confident enough in his health to sign him to a three-year, $93 million extension back in November. He has downplayed the latest issues with his shoulder, but Dodgers fans will feel uneasy until he is cleared to start.