Posted on May 6, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine

Los Angeles Dodgers Clayton Kershaw

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The injury bug is going around baseball, and not even the best pitcher in the game is immune. On Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers placed ace Clayton Kershaw on the 10-day DL with biceps tendinitis. It’s unclear how long Kershaw will be out. However, the Dodgers didn’t bother to backdate his DL stint to his last start, so it’s unlikely he’ll be ready to return after the 10-day minimum.

Kershaw last pitched on Tuesday, giving up two runs over six innings against the Diamondbacks. He was in line to start on Sunday in Mexico against the Padres. Instead, Kershaw flew back to Los Angeles to see Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts says Kershaw has dealt with biceps pain in the past. According to Roberts, the seven-time all-star felt discomfort during Tuesday’s start and then again while he was playing catch on Saturday. The manager added it was “unsettling” for Kershaw to agree to go on the DL without a fight.

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“Certainly not ideal,” Roberts said of the injury. “We’re cautiously optimistic. We want Dr. ElAttrache’s professional opinion. We’re still hopeful.”

This is now the third consecutive season Kershaw has made a trip to the DL. He’s missed a little over a month in each of the last two seasons because of back problems. There is a genuine concern for Kershaw, as there should be, but Roberts says he remains “cautiously optimistic” that it won’t be a long-term issue.

“If it was more of another part of the arm, it would be more concerning,” says Roberts. “Being the biceps, we are more hopeful.”

After going 18-4 with a 2.31 ERA last year, leading the National League in both wins and ERA, Kershaw has not quite been himself this season. Through seven starts, he’s 1-4 with a 2.86 ERA. Some of those losses are due to a lack of run support. However, Kershaw’s WHIP is at 1.14. He hasn’t finished a season with a WHIP over 1 since 2012. He’s also given up nine runs in his last 18 innings of work over his last three starts, showing some signs of not being completely healthy.

It remains to be seen how much time Kershaw will miss. But the Dodgers need to be prepared to go without him for at least a few weeks. With Hyun-Jin Ryu suffering a groin injury last week that is likely to keep him out until July, the Los Angeles rotation is suddenly thin. On top of that, the Dodgers continue to have three of their everyday infielders on the DL.

If there’s a silver lining for the Dodgers, it’s that Rich Hill is set to return from the DL on Tuesday. Los Angeles also got a brilliant outing from rookie Walker Buehler on Friday during the team’s combined no-hitter. That being said, there’s no replacing Kershaw. With the Dodgers struggling just to get to .500, the last thing they need is their ace sidelined for any period of time. Unless the team gets good news on Kershaw in the next few days, this could be the latest in a series of potential knockout punches to hit the Dodgers this season.

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