Next step for Kershaw: Planning rehab program

Dodgers ace says deterioration occurred after last start

Next step for Kershaw: Planning rehab program

LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw provided little clarity on the condition of his back as he met with reporters Saturday. It was his first time publicly speaking since being placed on the DL with a mild disk herniation.

The Dodgers ace said he would meet with team back specialist Robert Watkins before that night's game against the Rockies and lay out a rehab program from there.

"I have a plan, but I haven't seen Dr. Watkins yet for a followup," Kershaw said. "Just talk about a process, program, see what he thinks, and go from there."

Kershaw struggled through six innings against the Pirates on Sunday, his last start before hitting the DL, but he said the back issue didn't affect him while on the mound. He said his pregame work was "a bit of a grind," but the deterioration started Monday and continued to get worse.

"I feel like if you ask anybody in the clubhouse, they have 'Oh, my low back's kind of stiff today.' I think everybody goes through that and didn't think mine was any different," Kershaw said. "Maybe I pushed it too far, it's tough to say. I definitely didn't on one pitch or anything like that. I think it was probably just a progression."

After receiving an epidural in his back Thursday, Kershaw said he was feeling better, but his immediate comfort is all that can really be decided at this point.

"The training staff says he's responded well," manager Dave Roberts said. "Feels better after getting the epidural. As far as timeline to come back, we don't know."

While the idea of significant time without Kershaw taking the mound every fifth day is a nightmare scenario for the Dodgers and the team's fans, you would be hard pressed to find anyone more eager to see Kershaw return than the ace himself.

"I'm going to be very impatient," Kershaw said. "The DL sucks, there's no getting around it. It's awful. It's worse coming to the field every day. Whether you do or not, you just feel like you let the team down by not pitching."

Jack Baer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.