Sternum injury might cost Wood next start

Sternum injury might cost Wood next start

PITTSBURGH -- After allowing three solo home runs in the Dodgers' 6-5 comeback win over the Pirates on Monday night, pitcher Alex Wood said he will probably skip his next start because of a flareup of a sternum injury.

Wood was on the disabled list May 29-June 10 with inflammation of the sternoclavicular joint, where the clavicle meets the sternum. Although he has pitched reasonably well since returning, club officials have limited him to no more than 100 pitches a start and his velocity has dropped roughly two miles an hour.

"It's a little concerning given his history," said manager Dave Roberts, who will be looking for rotation slots when Yu Darvish and Clayton Kershaw return from the disabled list in the next 10 days. "We've really got to be cautious."

On Monday night, Wood's average fastball velocity was the lowest of the season, peaking at 91.9 mph, according to Statcast™. Wood hinted that another trip to the disabled list could be imminent, as both he and the club want the lefty to be sound and strong in October. He said the velocity is the result of mechanics, but the mechanics could be thrown off by the inflammation hampering his between-starts routine.

"Since the Arizona start Aug. 9, it flared up and we've been managing it. Nothing I can't pitch with," said Wood. "Been taking a lot of modalities, a lot of treatment. We'll talk tomorrow and see where we go from here."

Wood is 14-1 with a 2.41 ERA. He struck out five without a walk against the Pirates but allowed a home run to Jose Osuna on a fastball and opposite-field solo shots to Sean Rodriguez and Josh Harrison on change-ups.

Wood said that he worked extra on mechanics leading into that start, having allowed 11 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings over two starts at the end of July. He said the inflammation doesn't bother him as much during starts as it does during his between-starts preparation, when it gets stiff. He skipped his normal bullpen session over the weekend.

"It felt OK tonight," he said. "I'm more worried about it affecting things mechanically. I can do six [innings] and three earnies [earned runs], but where we want to be for end of September and October, we need to talk about the best course of action. I still felt I was fighting myself about the adjustments I made."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.