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Dodgers lose Clayton Kershaw to back injury

By in Press Enterprise on July 23, 2017

By J.P. Hoornstra

LOS ANGELES — The first thing Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes noticed was the mechanics. Clayton Kershaw didn’t have his full range of extension, a red flag for any pitcher. So, with two outs in the second inning, in the middle of an at-bat on a sweltering Sunday, Barnes jogged to the mound.

“He looked like something was going on in his head, like something in his eyes,” Barnes said. “I don’t know. Obviously he’s a tough dude. He’s never going to come out of a game. Something seemed wrong with him.”

With manager Dave Roberts and assistant athletic trainer Nate Lucero watching, Kershaw threw a couple practice pitches. He resolved to finish the inning, which he did.

Back in the dugout, Kershaw sat uncomfortably on the bench as a trainer approached. The two chatted quickly, then walked down the tunnel leading into the home clubhouse. Quietly, Kershaw’s day was done.

The Dodgers later announced that Kershaw exited with right lower back tightness. He is set to meet with Dr. Robert Watkins, a back specialist, to undergo tests that will determine the severity of his injury. Regardless of the outcome, Kershaw will be placed on the 10-day disabled list.

“A lot of frustration,” he said. “I’ve done countless hours of back maintenance and rehab trying to stay healthy. I’ve felt really, really good up to this point.”

Kershaw, the only Dodger pitcher who hasn’t missed a start this year, looked sharp in his 21st start of the season. He now leads the National League in earned-run average (2.04), wins (15-2) and innings pitched (141 ⅓).

After an efficient first inning against the Atlanta Braves, Kershaw said he felt “something different” throwing his final warm-up pitch prior to the second inning. He declined to describe the sensation any further. The devil would appear to lie in the details.

Kershaw was […]    

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