Dodgers place Alex Wood on disabled list before victory over Pirates
Alex Wood placed his hand across his chest. His fingers pointed to his SC joint, which connects the clavicle to the sternum, the area that has been beset by inflammation for the past two weeks. On Tuesday, he landed on the 10-day disabled list for the second time this season because of the condition.
“If we were three games up in the division, it’s something where you might try to fight through it a little bit more,” Wood said. “But it has been an issue for me since my Arizona start [on Aug. 9]. We just want to get it to calm down so I can be good for the last three weeks heading into October.”
The Dodgers activated Brock Stewart to take Wood’s roster spot Tuesday, before Stewart gave up five runs in an 8-5 victory over Pittsburgh. Wood approached team officials in the afternoon and suggested he would benefit from time off, manager Dave Roberts said.
Wood is likely to receive a cortisone shot to combat the inflammation. Wood was hopeful he could return by the first weekend of September, when the Dodgers travel to San Diego.
The Dodgers can afford to be careful with Wood. These are the perks of leading the National League West by 21 games.
“Can he make his next start? Sure,” Roberts said. “But with where we’re at, it’s with that theme of being overly cautious, because we’ve been afforded that luxury.”
The inflammation prevented Wood from throwing a bullpen session before his start Monday, when he gave up three home runs. Wood is not worried about risking a more serious injury, but he was concerned about his inability to sharpen his mechanics as he compensated for the discomfort.
“Whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, because of this, my body has tried to adjust to keep it healthy and feeling good,” Wood said. “Having a little bit of time to clean up what I need to clean up, and make a small adjustment mechanically, I think will be perfect timing right now.”
Wood joined a star-studded group of pitchers on the disabled list. Yu Darvish (back tightness) is expected to be activated for Sunday against Milwaukee. Clayton Kershaw (back strain) is scheduled to throw a four-inning, 60-pitch rehabiliation outing for triple-A Oklahoma City on Saturday. The Dodgers have not determined who will start in Wood’s place Saturday, but Roberts scratched one candidate off the list.
“I’m certain it will not be Clayton,” Roberts said.
Roberts ruled out top pitching prospect Walker Buehler, who has been working in relief for Oklahoma City, for Saturday. The team is weighing whether to call up Buehler, a first-round pick in 2015, to aid the bullpen in September. The transition from starting has not been kind thus far. Buehler had a 5.87 ERA after his first five relief appearances.
Neither Brandon McCarthy nor Scott Kazmir will be considered for Saturday, Roberts said. After three effective months to start the season, McCarthy became beset by mechanical glitches and has not pitched since July 20. He is on the disabled list with a blister on his pitching hand. Roberts indicated McCarthy will begin a rehab assignment soon, but he was unsure where.
Roberts offered an even vaguer explanation of Kazmir’s readiness. Beset by hip issues during the spring, Kazmir has not pitched for the Dodgers this season. He made a trio of rehab appearances for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, but his fastball velocity hovered in the mid-80s and his ERA was 6.00.
“Kaz is in Arizona,” Roberts said. “He’s still pitching. I don’t know. I really don’t know. I haven’t heard when we’re getting him out there on assignment. Obviously, the clock’s ticking. He’s pitching, has been doing simulated games. But as far as getting him in a game situation, I don’t know when that’s taking place.”
Kazmir will earn $16 million in 2018, in the final season of a three-year deal that backfired as Kazmir’s body broke down in 2016.
The Dodgers do not harbor similar fears about Wood, despite his history. He underwent elbow ligament replacement while in college. He missed most of last season after elbow surgery during the summer.
Wood described his discomfort as “mild” compared to how he felt in late May, when he was first shut down with SC joint issues. He hopes once the inflammation disperses, he can recapture the sharpness he felt in the first half, when he went 10-0 with a 1.67 ERA and earned his first All-Star selection.
“When you throw pitches, you don’t want there to be many outliers,” Wood said. “You want it to be consistent in the shape, and your command of it. And my command of all three hasn’t been exactly what I’ve wanted.
“Instead of throwing four out of four the way you want, you’re throwing two out of four or three out of four. I want it to go back to four out of four, and that’s a big part of getting this SC to calm back down and get back where I need it to be.”
8:25 p.m.: This article has been updated with more details following the Dodgers-Pirates game.
This article was originally published at 4:40 p.m.
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