Dodgers place Clayton Kershaw on injured list with shoulder soreness

The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw pitches against the Angels.
Clayton Kershaw pitches for the Dodgers against the Angels on June 20 at Angel Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

In a perfect world, Clayton Kershaw would have liked to wait and see if his sore shoulder improved enough in the coming days to make one more start before next week’s All-Star break.

In what has been a thoroughly imperfect season for the banged-up Dodgers’ pitching staff, though, keeping Kershaw on the active roster as he nursed his injury was a luxury the team couldn’t afford.

As a result, Kershaw was placed on the 15-day injured list Monday, six days after feeling shoulder pain during a start in Colorado last week.


“Any time you have to take time off, it’s frustrating,” said Kershaw, whose IL stint was backdated to June 30. “Just the way that the season was going, I had hoped that I could make it through a full season.”

Julio Urías endured a disastrous first inning during his first game back from injury and the Dodgers couldn’t recover during a 6-4 loss to the Royals.

July 2, 2023

Kershaw said his injury, deemed left shoulder soreness by the team, is already much improved after a cortisone injection last week.

Though he wasn’t ready for his scheduled turn through the rotation Monday — Michael Grove was called up instead to start the Dodgers’ 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates — Kershaw believed he might have been able to make one more outing before the All-Star break, had the team’s short-handed staff not been in such a dire state.

“Sometimes, roster decisions take precedence,” Kershaw said. “I would’ve liked to have tried, obviously. But that was a little bit above my pay grade.”

Kershaw’s absence represents yet the latest injury headache for the Dodgers (47-37), who have seen all five members of their planned opening day rotation miss time this season — and remain without Dustin May and Noah Syndergaard (not to mention Walker Buehler, who hasn’t pitched this year while recovering from Tommy John surgery).

Grove was solid in Kershaw’s place Monday, giving up just one run in four innings on a night Max Muncy homered and singled, David Peralta and Miguel Rojas both collected two hits and an RBI, and the Dodgers’ bullpen yielded only one run against the Pirates’ young lineup.


Grove will pitch again Saturday. Fellow rookie right-hander Gavin Stone was also called up to serve as a long reliever, replacing struggling left-hander Victor González.

“It’s been a lot to overcome,” manager Dave Roberts said of the Dodgers’ pitching injuries.

“But,” he added, “there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The injured list is nothing new to Kershaw, who has had at least one stint in each of the past eight campaigns.

This time, though, the Dodgers are hoping the 35-year-old will use the next couple of weeks as an extended midseason break, after he led the team’s rotation in wins (he is 10-4), earned-run average (2.55) and workload (95 ⅓ innings, 34 more than anyone else on the team) during the first half of the year.

“[With] all of our pitchers, there was a time where we envisioned each one of these guys getting a blow,” Roberts said. “I don’t think any pitcher looks forward to that, especially of this caliber. But again, given what he’s given us, I think it’s really smart and the reset is good.”

Kershaw acknowledged Monday’s setback was particularly disappointing since it also ruled him out of next week’s All-Star Game in Seattle — an event he said his oldest son, 6-year-old Charley, had been looking forward to seeing him pitch.


The Dodgers are struggling against good teams this season, reversing a trend from the previous seasons.

July 3, 2023

“We’re still going to go and have a good time and everything,” Kershaw said. “But he’s getting into it now, so I would’ve liked him to get to see that. That would’ve been cool.”

But once the All-Star break ends, Kershaw and the team expect the future Hall of Famer to be ready to return.

“I feel confident I’ll be ready after the break,” Kershaw said. “I’ll just try to find something to do for the next week, I guess.”