Dodgers sending ace Kershaw home for tests on sore back

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MILWAUKEE — Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is returning to Los Angeles for tests on a sore back that’s been bothering him for a few weeks.

Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that he was still hopeful Kershaw could make his next scheduled start Friday night at Dodger Stadium against Colorado.

The three-time NL Cy Young winner is 11-2 with a 1.79 ERA this season. He lost his last start on Sunday in Pittsburgh, giving up four runs and nine hits in six innings.

Roberts said Kershaw has been dealing on and off with a problem in his lower back.

“He’s not any better, so what we’re going to do, we decided to fly him back,” Roberts said. “Try to get him on a flight tonight or tomorrow first thing in the morning. He’s not pitching here in Milwaukee, so as we looked at his Friday start, to give him a couple days back home makes sense.”

Kershaw has been on the disabled list only once in his nine-year career, in early 2014 with a shoulder strain.

“He’s going to consult with the docs when he gets back to LA and we’ll see where we go from there,” Roberts said before Tuesday night’s game at Miller Park.

Roberts said he did not know if any examination would include an MRI or CT scan.

“I think that it’s to get him in the doctors’ hands, then they’ll go from there,” Roberts said. “I think that they’re going to do whatever they can to figure out what the problem is.”

“It’s been a few weeks where it’s been in and out and he’s so good, it kind of started barking a little bit, so I think that right now we just want to kind of get some answers,” he said.

Roberts said it was not a hip problem, which Kershaw dealt with last season.

“It’s no hip. I know it’s the back, to the extent of that, I know it’s barking and I just want to see what we’ve got,” he said.

Kershaw did not specifically ask to return to Los Angeles, Roberts said.

“I think it was just more of the training staff and him conferring and having discussions and feeling this was the best thing for Clayton,” he said.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.