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Los Angeles Dodgers Injury Updates: Clayton Kershaw Goes on IL With Elbow Inflammation

The injury bug bites all teams from time-to-time, but the Los Angeles Dodgers seem to always be the main course. 

The reigning World Series champions had a total of 10 players on the injured list during the shortened 60-game season in 2020. In total, those 10 players spent a combined 248 days on the injured list.

60 games into the 2021 season, and the Dodgers doubled last season’s total.

As of today’s date, injuries have made 23 different players miss a total of 947 days on the IL, totaling over $23 million in salary to injured players.

The first blow came on April 5th, when 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger went on the IL with a hairline fracture to his left fibula. Bellinger suffered the injury while trying to beat out an infield single in a 10-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics just five games into the season.

Another devastating injury came when reigning World Series MVP Corey Seager was hit by a pitch and fractured a finger in his right hand on May 15. The shortstop is expected to miss between four and six weeks before he can return.

LHP Scott Alexander and Yoshi Tsutsugo recently came off the injured list, but just before the much-needed All-Star Break, the Dodgers placed a bevy of pitchers on the IL, including to three-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw.

Here are the latest updates on all the Dodgers injuries:

Caleb Ferguson (Tommy John Surgery) – Ferguson felt something in his left elbow on September 15, 2020 against the San Diego Padres. After striking out the first batter he saw, Ferguson knew something was wrong and immediately gestured to the training staff to come out of the dugout. An MRI a day later revealed “a pretty good tear” of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow, requiring Tommy John surgery. “I feel terrible,” Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said at the time. Ferguson underwent the surgery in Los Angeles a week later and is expected to be out for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Tommy Kahnle (Tommy John Surgery) – Kahnle only pitched one game with the New York Yankees in 2020 before feeling significant discomfort in his right throwing elbow. An MRI revealed a tear in his UCL, and Kahnle underwent Tommy John surgery on August 4th. The Yankees outrighted Kahnle in October and he opted for free agency where he signed a two-year contract with the Dodgers. Los Angeles offered the deal with the understanding that Kahnle would be recovering for the entirety of the first year of the contract. Kahnle is expected to miss the 2021 season but be ready in time for spring training of 2022.

Brock Stewart (Tommy John Surgery) – Stewart returned to the team that drafted him in the offseason and was viewed as a minor league pitcher that could provide depth when called upon. However, Stewart entered spring training with elbow issues and could never get back to 100%. Stewart finally went in for some imaging and saw an issue with his UCL. He underwent Tommy John surgery on May 13 and will be out for the remainder of the season.

Corey Knebel (Right lat muscle) – Knebel’s injury might be the most significant and impactful of all for the Boys in Blue. After a resurgence to start the season, Knebel appeared to have recaptured his All-Star form from the 2017 season when he was the closer for the Milwaukee Brewers. Early in the 2021 season, Dave Roberts showed tremendous trust in Knebel, inserting him into high-leverage situations, including two converted save opportunities. However, after appearing in another pressure-packed situation against the San Diego Padres on Friday, Knebel threw a ball-four breaking ball into the dirt that bounced feet in front of the plate. He immediately grimaced in pain and pointed to his right triceps muscle. Later tests would reveal it was a lat injury, and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Saturday that he was placed on the IL and would miss “several months.” Roberts finished by saying he believes Knebel will not need surgery and will return to pitch for the team this season. Knebel was moved to the 60-day IL on May 2.

Edwin Rios (Right shoulder surgery) Rios struggled to start the season going 4-for-54 with a 0.78 batting average. Rios told reporters that he felt discomfort in the shoulder throughout the 2021 campaign, but when it wasn’t getting better despite around-the-clock treatment, they had imaging tests done that revealed a torn labrum. The doctor recommendation was surgery to repair the tear and it was scheduled for Thursday, May 19 in Los Angeles. Rios will miss the entirety of the 2021 season, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Dustin May (Tommy John surgery) – May experienced a shooting pain in his right elbow during a start on May 2 against the Milwaukee Brewers. May immediately left the game and underwent tests a couple days later in Chicago. Imaging revealed a torn UCL in his right elbow, and Tommy John surgery was recommended. May underwent Tommy John surgery on May 12 and will be out for the remainder of the season and into the 2022 season.

Corey Seager (Fractured finger in right hand) – Seager was hit by a 94MPH sinker from Ross Detwiler and immediately went to the ground writing in pain. Seager tried to walk to first base, but keeled over again and came out of the game. X-rays later that night revealed a fracture in the 5th metacarpal bone on his right hand. It’s the long bone on the base of the pinky finger located just above the trapezium. It was a non-displaced fracture, and will not require surgery. Seager will remain in a cast until the fracture heals and is expected to miss between four and six weeks. Seager is back to live hitting again, and is expected to make a rehab assignment after the All-Star break with the current plan for him to come off the IL on July 19th at Dodger Stadium against the rival San Francisco Giants.

Victor Gonzalez (Plantar fasciitis in left foot): Left-handed relief pitcher Victor Gonzalez went on the injured list on July 6, after an appearance in Miami that saw him give up the go-ahead home run to Jorge Alfaro in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Dodgers would go on to lose that game 5-4. Gonzalez’s injury does not appear to be serious, but plantar fasciitis can be a lingering issue. Gonzalez is expected to come off the IL at some point after the All-Star break.

Clayton Kershaw (Left elbow inflammation): Three-time NL Cy Young Award winner and former MVP Clayton Kershaw put a scare into Dodgers Nation when he was unexpectedly placed on the injured list with left elbow inflammation before the team’s game against the Miami Marlins on July 7th. Kershaw scheduled to start two days later at Dodger Stadium on July 9, and did not appear to have any issues outside of a first-inning stinger in his previous start against the Nationals. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts said that Kershaw felt something in his left elbow while playing catch in Miami, and the team decided to ire on the side of caution and place him on the IL. An MRI on Friday revealed and confirmed the inflammation and not much more. Kershaw is expected to take some rest to let it subside and will return sometime after the All-Star Break.

Jimmy Nelson (Left lumbar strain): Nelson went on the injured list for the second time this season ahead of the team’s three-game homestand against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The injury is not expected to be serious and Nelson could also return after the All-Star break.

Dodgers Injury Updates are provided throughout the season.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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