In an unfortunate turn of events just hours before Thursday’s season opener, the Dodgers have placed left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw on the injured list with back stiffness and have recalled right-handed pitcher Dustin May.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kershaw sustained the injury in the weight room during a workout on Tuesday.
May joins the squad after being optioned moments before the club’s active roster was set, although Gurnick hinted that the young righty was told before there would be a possibility that he could join the team.
The 22-year-old May will make his first career Opening Day start and will become the first Dodger rookie to start on Opening Day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. The Texas native made his Major League debut on August 2, 2019 against the San Diego Padres.
In his first big league season, May went 2-3 with a 3.63 ERA (14 ER/34.2 IP) with 32 strikeouts. Originally drafted in the third round of the 2016 MLB Draft out of Northwest High School (TX), May has posted a 24-17 record with a 3.50 ERA in 78 games (73 starts) in the Dodger organization. He entered the season as the league’s 23rd-rated prospect according to MLB.com and participated in the 2019 Futures Game.
Kershaw, 32, enters his 13th season with the Dodgers and 347 games (344 starts) with the Dodgers, he is 169-74 with a 2.44 ERA (617 ER/2274.2 IP) with 2464 strikeouts. Last season, the 2014 NL MVP went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA (60 ER/178.1 IP) and 189 strikeouts in 29 games (28 starts).
Thursday’s nod would have been Kersh’s ninth career Opening Day start, extending his own team record.
Los Angeles won all of Kershaw’s first seven Opening Day starts, as he compiled a 5-0 record with a 0.99 ERA during that span. However, his win streak was broken in 2018 when the Dodgers were blanked by the Giants, 1-0.
Last year, lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu took the mound on Opening day for the Dodgers when Kershaw was deemed unable to throw after dealing with shoulder problems most of the spring.
- Muncy 1B
- Betts RF
- Bellinger CF
- Turner 3B
- Seager SS
- Hernandez 2B
- Pederson LF
- Pollock DH
- Barnes C
- (May P)
(Juan Dorado furnished some information provided in this report)