WASHINGTON -- Clayton Kershaw was examined Tuesday by a hip specialist, who said the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner can continue to pitch without risking further damage to his right hip, but the Dodgers will not allow Kershaw to take the mound if the pain persists.
While the team traveled to Washington on Tuesday for a series opener with the Nationals that was postponed by rain, Kershaw was examined by Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Kelly agreed with the initial diagnosis made by team physician Neal ElAttrache that Kershaw has an impingement of the right hip, meaning the joint is pinched during rotation of the hip while pitching.
The team said Kershaw would resume his throwing program on Tuesday, though manager Don Mattingly did not commit to any decision regarding his ace's spot in the rotation. The Dodgers are 1 1/2 games behind the Cardinals for the second Wild Card spot in the National League.
For the season, Kershaw is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and an NL-leading 206 strikeouts over 206 2/3 innings pitched.
"He's really competitive, but also he knows he can't pitch," Mattingly said. "In certain points, he knows he can't pitch. When he can't go out and throw, he knows he can't compete. So it brings you to realism. When you can't throw, you can't go out and compete. So at that point, you know you've got to take care of it."
While the Dodgers' rotation beyond Aaron Harang, Josh Beckett and Chris Capuano hasn't been officially set, Mattingly said rookie right-hander Stephen Fife will likely get a look.
Fife is 0-1 in four starts this season. He struck out nine while allowing two runs on four hits in five innings in the Dodgers' 5-2 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday.
"We haven't really talked about it too much, but [Fife] threw the ball well," Mattingly said. "He's enjoyed throwing the ball well every time he's got it. So we'll look at him right there right now."
The Dodgers also have not made any decisions regarding using a four-man rotation for the rest of September.
"We'll see," Mattingly said. "If there's chances to skip somebody, then we'll talk about it. We're not going to throw anybody on short rest. I don't think we have those type of guys that are going to be able to pitch on short rest."