Nope, this isn't an April fool's joke.
Los Angeles Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw (back) will enter a rehab program that will keep him from throwing for two to three weeks, after which he'll be re-evaluated. If there are no setbacks, he'll probably need a few more weeks to get back into game shape.
Manager Don Mattingly said "this is going to take some time" when talking about Kershaw's recovery. They're not going to risk things with their big-money arm. That balky back, arm and surrounding area sound like they could be going through some painful stuff:
The Teres Major muscle that's giving him trouble is not something to be nonchalant about, particularly for a pitcher. It stretches from the shoulder blade to the back of the upper arm and adds stability to the rotator cuff.
This sounds like something that could affect him even when he comes back, so he may also be skipped for a start here and there if it acts up. (Pay for pitching, they said....)
Kershaw owners already must look to fill the gap of one-sixth of his season. They'll have plenty of hurlers to choose from, and you can often piece together a high percentage of what even someone at his cost in a fantasy draft would produce for you. Waiver-wire options break through every year. However, it's going to take plenty of gamesmanship, especially in a single-universe format.
As for what the Blue will do to fill his shoes, the steady but boring Paul Maholm probably will continue to maximize his minimal skills in a fine pitching environment. Some mixed leaguers -- mostly NL players -- could use him once in a while. Josh Beckett (thumb) could be back in a few weeks; he'll need a bit of time to regain peak form, but he's a deep-league stab that could at least help you tread water.
They're going to have to patch things together for a bit. Chad Billingsley (Tommy John surgery) could return sometime in the next two months but will require similar patience in receiving any fantasy confidence. Any other replacements that merely constitute LA's organizational depth can't be trusted yet.
You'll need to try external chess pieces, such as the three NL throwers mentioned in today's Diamond Market.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he appears on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio on Thursdays and Sundays, and every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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