Kershaw can pitch without risk once pain subsides
Dodgers wary of letting ace take hill if pain from impingement persists
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."
Kershaw named LA's nominee for Clemente Award
WASHINGTON -- Clayton Kershaw was selected on Tuesday as the Dodgers' nominee for the 2012 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet.
Tuesday marked the 11th annual Roberto Clemente Day, which was established by Major League Baseball to honor Clemente's legacy and to officially recognize local club nominees of the award. Each of baseball's 30 teams named one finalist for the award, which recognizes a player who best represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The award is named for the achievements and character of Clemente, a 15-time MLB All-Star and Hall of Famer who died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, founded Kershaw's Challenge in 2011. The charitable foundation focuses on the transformation of at-risk children and communities through the benevolence and impact of others. The foundation's cornerstone charity is Arise Africa, with which the Kershaws partnered to build and sustain Hope's Home, an orphanage for children in Lusaka, Zambia.
The 24-year-old left-hander is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and a National League-leading 206 strikeouts. Kershaw is also the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner after leading the league in all three Triple Crown categories in 2011.
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.