The day he should have made his sixth start to the season, pitcher of the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw instead he was placed on the list of injured with inflammation of the right sacroiliac joint, the team announced.
The severity of Kershaw’s SI joint injury and a potential timetable for his return were not immediately disclosed.
Walker Buehler the game will start on Friday instead. He will normally take four days off.
Left-handed rescuer Garrett Cleavinger was recalled in a corresponding move.
Kershaw’s injury disrupts what had been an encouraging start to his 15th season in MLB. After signing up again with the tax evaders in this off-season on a one-year contract, the 34-year-old was 4-0 with an ERA of 1.80 in five starts.
He hadn’t shown any signs of disturbance before Friday’s announcement.
The SI joints are in the hip, where the lower spine and pelvis connect. When they become inflamed, they can cause back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Without Kershaw, the Dodgers will have to find greater initial pitch depth in the busiest part of their schedule so far. The team is currently playing 31 games in 30 days and has a double header on Tuesday.
In addition to Buehler, the current squad rotation also includes Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson. Potential client Ryan Pepiot made his MLB debut on Wednesday before being optioned on Thursday, but is a candidate to return and start one of Tuesday’s games, according to manager Dave Roberts.
Beyond that, however, the team is running out of launch options.
Mitch White continues to strengthen after being on the COVID-19 list. Roberts said he wouldn’t be ready for Tuesday’s games.
David Price is also returning from a COVID-19 absence, but he would need more time to be stretched as a holder. So far this year, he had had a bullpen role from one inning.
Andrew Heaney, who made two goalless starts earlier in the season before moving to IL with a shoulder injury, has resumed shooting but is not yet close to returning.
Andre Jackson and Michael Grove are the only other starting pitchers on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
Jackson, 26, pitched three times for the Dodgers last season and has an ERA of 6.14 in five starts with the Oklahoma City Triple A this year.
Grove, 25, is a former second-round pick who has never pitched above double A, although this year she has an ERA of 2.76 in five starts at that level.
With Buehler’s launch on Friday, the team could increase rotation for the remainder of the weekend. Urías and Gonsolin could launch on Saturday and Sunday respectively with four days of rest.
However, the Dodgers will still have plenty of short-term gaps to fill in the coming weeks.
Until the severity of Kershaw’s injury is revealed, there will be questions about the long-term status of their rotation, especially if the future Hall of Fame southpaw loses an extended period of time.