Rick Honeycutt says Dodgers pitchers affected by Australia trip

Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt chats with ace Clayton Kershaw.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

SAN DIEGO -- Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt isn’t certain the Dodgers’ trip to Australia is to blame for Clayton Kershaw’s injury, but he wouldn’t rule it out.

In Honeycutt’s view, the trip itself wasn’t the problem. Rather, it was how the Dodgers’ training camp was shortened.

“I would love for a starter to have a minimum of five starts in spring-training games,” Honeycutt said.

Kershaw made four starts in exhibition games.


Kershaw first felt discomfort in his back muscle in his opening-day start in Australia. Kershaw, who isn’t expected to pitch this month, wouldn’t speculate how the trip might have affected his health.

Brian Wilson is also on the disabled list because of an irritated nerve in his elbow. Wilson said he didn’t have enough time to prepare for the regular season.

Honeycutt also questioned how much idle time the Dodgers had once they departed to Australia.

“I don’t think enough thought’s been put in that process,” he said.

The trip cost the Dodgers a week, during which they played an exhibition game and two regular-season games, both against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

They returned to Los Angeles, took four days off, played three exhibition games against the Angels, then opened the domestic part of their regular season before any other team had played a game.

“Then they’re asking us to come back and play before anybody else plays, move our schedule up a day?” Honeycutt said. “That doesn’t make any sense, either.”

Honeycutt, who was pulled aside by public relations manager Jon Chapper before speaking to reporters, made it a point to say of the Australia trip, “I hope there’s no correlation. He could have had seven starts and still have had soreness. I’m not saying that’s the reason.”

However, Honeycutt later said, “I just feel like you always put health in front of the situation.”