Clayton Kershaw has an inflamed right hip joint and was scratched from his Sunday night start for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants.
He wasn’t thrilled about it, because he said he thought he could still go. Manager Don Mattingly made the call with help from the trainers.
”I felt good enough to pitch,” Kershaw said before the Dodgers were shut out by the first-place San Franciso Giants to fall 5 1/2 games back in the NL West. ”It wasn’t my decision.”
Kershaw began feeling some discomfort a few days earlier and went for a contrast MRI exam Saturday — at the same time as center fielder Matt Kemp — and received a cortisone injection. Doctors ruled out a hernia and other issues.
The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner said he threw five pitches off the mound at AT&T Park earlier Sunday in front of the medical staff and believed he could pitch.
”It was kind of all I needed to give me that peace of mind that I could do it,” Kershaw said. ”I thought I was going to get the chance. It puts Donnie in a tough spot, I understand that. He had to do what he thought was best.”
Mattingly said the decision was made to give Kershaw a couple of extra days to make sure he is healthy for the rest of the season, and the lefty is now scheduled to start Tuesday at Arizona. The Dodgers are in the chase for the division and NL wild-card spots.
”None of it made any sense for him to pitch today. We’re really trying to put him in a position to pitch the rest of the year,” Mattingly said. ”This is all about him having the best chance of being healthy the rest of the way.”
Still, Kershaw clearly didn’t like the news.
”I would have loved to pitch today. Thought I could have done it,” Kershaw said. ”You can’t make all of your decisions, I guess. But I’m going to get five more starts, regardless, for the rest of the season. You can hype this game as much as you want but I’ve got to win the starts they give me, so that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
Right-hander Joe Blanton started in Kershaw’s place, yielding four runs on six hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings of Sunday’s 4-0 loss. He was told Saturday to be ready because it was a ”50-50” chance he would start.
Blanton allowed a two-run double to Hunter Pence in the first inning. He needed 36 pitches to get out of the first, giving up as many runs that inning as Kershaw did total in any of his four starts facing San Francisco this year.
Kershaw (12-7) is 5-2 with a 0.66 ERA in seven starts and eight appearances at AT&T Park. He is 1-3 in four starts this season against the Giants, who missed facing the Dodgers ace in a series — after 11 in a row — for the first time since September 2010. Kershaw was 7-3 with a 1.21 ERA during those 11 meetings.
He said he doesn’t know how he was injured. It caused him problems when landing, and he felt it running and throwing.
”It just kind of came on,” Kershaw said. ”Maybe just tweaked it somehow.”
Kemp also could be back in the lineup Tuesday if all goes well. He received a cortisone shot in his inflamed left shoulder Saturday and reported no problems a day later.
”It feels the same, dude. We’ll see tomorrow,” Kemp said. ”It’s only one day. It’s got to kick in.”
Kemp said he attended a concert Saturday night in the East Bay but wasn’t at the Andre Ward-Chad Dawson fight in Oakland.
”I didn’t want to go watch people getting beat up — I’ve been beat up all year,” Kemp said. ”Stop the violence.”