Kershaw: Back issue 'not too serious,' expects return soon

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during intrasquad play in the restart of baseball spring training Monday, July 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the plate during intrasquad play in the restart of baseball spring training Monday, July 6, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

LOS ANGELES – Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw’s back issue that forced him to miss his opening day start is improving and he hopes to return soon.

Manager Dave Roberts said Friday that Kershaw had an MRI after tweaking his back three days earlier. It showed no structural damage.

“That's the most important thing,” Roberts said before the Dodgers hosted the Giants. “We're all really encouraged.”

Kershaw gave no timetable for his return. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been receiving treatment daily.

“It’s not too serious,” he said. “It’s getting better pretty quick.”

Before hurting himself in a weight room workout, Kershaw said his left pitching arm and back were feeling “great.” Things changed in a hurry, forcing him to miss making his ninth opening day start.

“The timing couldn’t have been worse, working all that time to try and stay ready,” he said. “It was pretty defeating, like how is this happening right now?”

Kershaw has been bothered by back problems in the past. He was on the IL in 2016, 2017 and 2018, each time with various issues. The worst, he said, was in 2016.