The Dodgers announced they placed Clayton Kershaw on the 15-day injured list citing back pain. porter ChrisTaylor is back from his own IL stint to fill the vacated active roster slot. Los Angeles also called helpers back Reyes Moronta from Triple-A Oklahoma City and optional outfielder James Outman.
Kershaw lands on the IL for the second time this season. He lost about a month between the beginning of May and June due to an inflammation in the right hip area. The future Hall of Famer returned and made ten more starts before yesterday’s outing. After throwing four innings of two-run ball in an eventual win over the Giants, Kershaw went to the mound for his warm-up shots to start the fifth. He withdrew from the game after suffering lower back pain and this issue looks set to keep him out of action for at least the next few weeks.
The team have not provided a timeline for Kershaw’s return and the announced diagnosis of low back pain remains nebulous. They will certainly be wary of the 34-year-old, especially as he has ended up on the injury list at least once every season since 2016. This included deployments for back problems between 2016 and 18 each year. With a 12-1/2 game lead over the Padres in NL West, the Dodgers can feel comfortable playing slow with key players over the past few months.
While Kershaw no longer takes on the type of workload he had in his prime, he’s still among the sport’s best pitchers on a rate basis. In 85 1/3 innings this season, the three-time Cy Young winner carries a 2.64 ERA with an above-average strikeout rate of 26.2% and groundball percentage of 48.5%. Kershaw’s fastball is in the 90 MPH range, but he possesses arguably the best command in the game, not hitting more than 6% of batters in a season in a decade.
Kershaw’s Journey to the IL Leaves Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin, Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heney as the four best of the rotation for the time being. Ryan Pepiot and Michael Grove are depth options at Triple-A, and the racquet seems to welcome hard-throwing right-handers dustin may back in the not too distant future. Manager Dave Roberts told MLB Network Radio this afternoon on SiriusXM that May is likely to return in the club’s Aug. 19-21 series against the Marlins (Twitter link). The 24-year-old has been away all season recovering from Tommy John’s surgery in May 2021 but has been in rehab since mid-July. Roberts hinted he’ll likely make two more starts at Oklahoma City before returning to the big league club, although he left open the possibility of May returning to the MLB team after just one more Triple-A appearance .
Taylor returns to the starting lineup exactly a month after breaking his left foot. It’s a quick recovery for an injury of this magnitude and Roberts suggested he’ll get the nod at second base tonight. It will be Taylor’s first appearance on the field this season as he has worked exclusively on the turf this year. Taylor has logged 502 innings in left field, along with 57 and 56 frames at center and right, respectively.
Of course, over the past few seasons, Taylor has made a name for himself with his defensive flexibility. He can play practically anywhere on the diamond except as a catcher and it seems the club are content to bring him back onto the infield on occasion. Gavin Lux and Trea Turner form an excellent duo in the middle infield, with Max Muncy mainly plays third base as Justin Turner landed on the IL on Tuesday. Taylor is likely to still spend the majority of his time in the outfield, but the ability to log some actions in the dirt will allow Roberts more flexibility in managing infield representatives. The 31-year-old will be looking to get going offensively after his month-long absence as he carries a .238/.319/.409 line with a whopping 35.4% strikeout rate on 285 plate appearances a year.