Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw back to disabled list with lower back strain

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Just one day after he returned to the Dodgers’ rotation, ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw is headed back to the disabled list. This time, it’s a lower back strain, one the pitcher likened to the mild back injury he sustained in 2017. Manager Dave Roberts said it’s “fair to expect” Kershaw to be out of commission for another month or so.

It’s been a less-than-ideal start to the 2018 season for the lefty, who served nearly a month on the DL after experiencing a bout of tendinitis in his left biceps. Prior to his assignment, he turned in a 2.76 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.7 SO/9 across his first 49 innings of 2018. Still, something didn’t seem quite right when he took the mound for the Dodgers on Thursday. Kershaw delivered five innings of one-run, five-strikeout ball in their 2-1 loss to the Phillies, but couldn’t get his fastball above the mid- to high-80s and didn’t throw it at all in the fifth.

With Kershaw out of commission for the foreseeable future, right-hander Brock Stewart has been recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. It’ll be Stewart’s fifth stint in the majors this season. The 26-year-old currently sports a 4.61 ERA, 4.0 B/9 and 7.2 SO/9 through 13 2/3 innings out of the bullpen and rotation.