Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw Suffers Setback Due to Shoulder Inflammation

Kershaw will not need an MRI and is taking anti-inflammatory medication.
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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw is dealing with inflammation in his throwing shoulder, manager Dave Roberts said on Sunday.

After Kershaw took a step back from his normal throwing progression, Roberts revealed Sunday that the ace left-hander had minor soreness. Roberts said Kershaw will not need an MRI and is taking anti-inflammatory medication to treat the ailment.

"It's just the shoulder, probably inflammation getting ramped up," Roberts told reporters. "Says he continues to feel better. When he will throw a baseball, probably soon."

Roberts stressed that Kershaw would remain the team's Opening Day starter.

"He's in a good place. He feels good," Roberts said. "He understands that it's a process. We're all on the same page. We don't want to rush him back. If we're going to take a few days to take a step back, let's take advantage of it. In talking to him, he's encouraged. Speaking honestly, there's no reason he won't be an elite pitcher with his pitch mix, regardless of velocity. I believe and the organization believes that. But Clayton's got to believe that."

Kershaw had a 2.73 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP last season but had the lowest strikeout rate and highest hit rate since his rookie season in 2008. The three-time Cy Young Award winner saw his velocity drop to the low 90s in 2018.

Kershaw spent the offseason in Dallas trying to increase his flexibility and realign his delivery.