The Los Angeles Dodgers began the second half of their season on Friday with lingering uncertainty over the status of longtime ace Clayton Kershaw, who is on the injured list with inflammation in his left forearm.
Kershaw has been working out, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, but there's still no telling when he will resume throwing and begin to build back up for a return to the rotation. Kershaw, who has a 3.39 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 19 walks in 106 1/3 innings this season, last pitched on July 3 and underwent an MRI less than a week later that revealed only inflammation in the area of his pitching elbow.
"We're gonna take this time to give him a breather," Roberts said. "This is something that, with the soreness and then taking some time here to build back up for the sprint, I think, makes sense, and Clayton's on board with that."
The Dodgers, two games behind the National League West-leading San Francisco Giants, went into the season with an abundance of starting-pitching depth but entered the All-Star break with serious questions about their rotation.
With Kershaw on the IL, Dustin May opting for season-ending Tommy John surgery and Trevor Bauer on administrative leave at least until July 27 while facing sexual assault allegations, the Dodgers are down to four healthy starters. One of those four, David Price, is just now being stretched out after spending the first three-plus months of the season in the bullpen.
Josiah Gray, the Dodgers' top prospect, is among the internal options the Dodgers are considering for the vacant rotation spot, Roberts said. Gray, 23, dealt with a shoulder injury earlier this year but has pitched six scoreless innings in two outings since his return for Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Roberts indicated that Kershaw's rehab process is rooted mostly in pragmatism.
"That is something that once it kind of came about, it made sense to take the time to cut some of the season off and save some bullets for the rest of the season and throughout out the postseason," Roberts said. "We feel good about it. I'm not sure exactly when he's gonna start playing catch again, but I feel good about the process."