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Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw out 4-6 weeks with back injury

The best pitcher in baseball will be out for the foreseeable future.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw discusses his injury with manager Dave Roberts and trainer Nate Lucero.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will be placed on the 10-day disabled list and miss 4-6 weeks after experiencing back tightness in his start Sunday, according to FOX’s Ken Rosenthal. He will receive a second opinion on the injury this week.

Kershaw felt the tightness while warming up for the second inning, and despite finishing that inning unscathed, he was promptly removed for a pinch hitter when his spot in the batting order came up in the bottom of the inning. The tightness is nothing new for Kershaw, who missed two months of the 2016 season, though he said after the game that it did not feel as serious as the first occurrence a year ago.

Any contender losing any starting pitcher is a tough blow for the team to handle, but perhaps no loss is worse than that of Kershaw. The dominant left-hander has continued to mystify every batter he’s come across, posting a 2.04 ERA along with 10.7 K/9 to go along with just 1.5 walks per nine innings of work. The team will return Hyun-Jin Ryu to the rotation on Monday, but they’ve also lost Brandon McCarthy to the DL due to a blister, leaving the team a starting pitcher short.

While the Dodgers have been the best team in baseball for the majority of the season and currently lead their division by 1012 games, the loss of two starting pitchers should do nothing but exacerbate the team’s desire for starting pitching ahead of the trade deadline, which is now just a week away. The team has already been connected to Rangers ace Yu Darvish, and could also explore a trade for Oakland’s Sonny Gray, or perhaps a middle-of-the-rotation-type such as Jaime Garcia of the Braves or San Diego’s Trevor Cahill. The Kershaw injury may force the club to be more aggressive on starters before next Monday’s trade deadline.