On the day of his sixth start of the season, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was placed on the injured list with an inflamed right SI joint, the team announced.
The severity of Kershaw’s sacroiliac joint injury, or a potential timetable for his return, was not immediately disclosed.
Walker Buehler will start Friday’s game instead. He will rest normally for four days.
Left-handed reliever Garrett Klevinger was recalled in a corresponding move.
Kershaw’s injury brought an abrupt end to an encouraging start to his 15th MLB season. After a one-year extension with the Dodgers in the offseason, the 34-year-old is 4-4 with a 1.80 ERA in five starts.
He showed no signs of illness before Friday’s announcement.
The SI joint is where the hip, lower spine, and pelvis join. When they become inflamed, they can cause lower back pain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Without Kershaw, the Dodgers would have to find more starting pitching depth on their busiest schedule to date. The team currently has 31 games in 30 days, with a double on Tuesday.
In addition to Beeler, the team’s current rotation includes Julio Urias, Tony Gonzolin and Tyler Anderson. Prospect Ryan Pepiot made his MLB debut on Wednesday before being drafted on Thursday, but is a candidate to return and start Tuesday’s game, according to manager Dave Roberts.
Beyond that, however, the team lacked options to start pitching.
Mitch White continues to build after being placed on the COVID-19 list. Roberts said he won’t be ready for Tuesday’s game.
David Price has also recovered from a COVID-19 absence, but will need more time as a starter. So far this year, he’s held the role of a bullpen for one inning.
Andrew Heaney, who was scoreless in both starts before entering Illinois with a shoulder injury at the start of the season, has returned to throwing, but is nowhere near his return.
Andre Jackson and Michael Grove are the only other starting pitchers on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster.
Jackson, 26, pitched three for the Dodgers last season and has a 6.14 ERA in five starts for Oklahoma City this year.
Grove, 25, is a former second-round pick who has never pitched more than a double-A, despite having a 2.76 ERA in five starts this year.
With Buehler pitching Friday, the team could improve the rotation for the rest of the weekend. Urías and Gonsolin can pitch on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, with four days off.
However, the Dodgers still have plenty of short-term holes to fill in the coming weeks.
Until the severity of Kershaw’s injury is revealed, the long-term state of their rotation will be in doubt, especially if the future Hall of Famer southpaw misses any extended time.