Clayton Kershaw skips bullpen session due to stiff back


Much like Giants ace Tim Lincecum, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has experienced back stiffness following his first couple of workouts in spring camp.

Also like Lincecum, who was able play to play catch Wednesday, Kershaw’s issue is thought to be minor.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told’s Ken Gurnick that Kershaw’s scheduled Wednesday bullpen session was cancelled, but only because the team can afford to be extra cautious this early in the spring:

“He’s been around for a while,” Mattingly said in Glendale, Arizona. “We know he’s young and he’s thrown a lot of innings and we won’t do anything to jeopardize him.”

Kershaw should be back on his normal routine by the weekend. He has already been named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter and is not scheduled to appear in a Cactus League game until March 9. The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner posted a dominant 2.28 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 233 1/3 innings last season.

Madison Bumgarner diagnosed with fractured left hand

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Giants ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner sustained a displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand on Friday. He’ll undergo surgery on Saturday to insert pins in his pinky knuckle, a procedure that could require a four- to six-week recovery period before he’s cleared to throw again. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bumgarner’s total recovery time is expected to take 6-8 weeks. In a best-case scenario, the lefty said he should be able to pitch again before the All-Star break, but given the amount of time and care it’ll take for him to shoulder a full workload, it’s unclear whether he’ll be able to do so.

Bumgarner suffered the fracture during the third inning of Friday’s Cactus League game against the Royals. Whit Merrifield returned a line drive up the middle and the ball deflected off the top of Bumgarner’s pitching hand before bouncing into the infield. He chased after the ball but was unable to pick it up, and was immediately visited by manager Bruce Bochy and a team trainer before exiting the game.

The 28-year-old southpaw was gearing up for a massive comeback after losing significant playing time with an injury in 2017. During his tumultuous run with the Giants last year, he missed nearly three months on the disabled list after spraining his shoulder and bruising his ribs in a dirt bike accident. He finished the season with a 4-9 record in 17 starts and a 3.32 ERA (his first 3.00+ ERA since 2012), 1.6 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 111 innings. Without him, the Giants suffered as well; by season’s end, their pitching staff ranked seventh-worst in the National League with a cumulative 4.58 ERA and 10.1 fWAR.

This is the second massive injury the Giants’ rotation has sustained this week after right-hander Jeff Samardzija was diagnosed with a strained pectoral muscle on Thursday. “Horrible news for us,” Bochy told reporters after Friday’s game. “That’s all you can say about it. There’s nothing you can do but push on.”