4/2/2014 9:31 P.M. ET
For Kershaw, waiting is the hardest part
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said the worst part of having a strained teres major muscle is not knowing how long he will be on the disabled list.
"The hard part is not having a set end goal," said Kershaw, who played a gentle game of catch Wednesday to keep his arm loose, without further irritating the muscle that runs from the top of the arm under the arm pit. "Whenever it feels better, I'll go. I tried to play catch to keep the arm going. But pitch in a game? Not sure when that's going to be. That's the hard part."
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner was scratched from starting Sunday's domestic opener, then hit the shelf when it became clear he wasn't going to bounce back as quickly as hoped.
Kershaw and the Dodgers have not detailed when the injury occurred. He started the first game of the Opening Series in Australia and made 102 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, but he won't pitch again for at least another month.
Manager Don Mattingly stopped short of saying the injuries to Kershaw and teammate Brian Wilson (right elbow) were the result of an abbreviated Spring Training to facilitate the season-opening trip to Australia.
"If I would, I'd be guessing," he said of making the connection. "If you talk to [pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt, if MLB asked him what he thought, he'd have a different plan. He thought it was a little short, that pitchers didn't get on the mound enough. If they listened to Rick, they would have had a different system."
Kershaw said the injury occurred from "throwing hard, obviously. What caused it? At the end of the day, it happened. I try not to think about that. I feel I prepared as well as I could have. I felt great all Spring Training. I don't know what I could have done better. I don't think the flight itself had anything to do with it. Obviously pitching is what hurt it. Whether it was Australia or not, who knows?"
Kershaw said he hasn't taken any injections because he's been told the best prescription is rest.
"I'm not good at that," he said. "Patience isn't a virtue of mine."
Honeycutt discusses Australia trip and injuries
SAN DIEGO -- After a compressed and disjointed Spring Training, two of the pitchers Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt took to Australia for the Opening Series are on the disabled list.
Honeycutt said he couldn't say the Australian trip caused the injuries. And he couldn't say it didn't.
But after reliever Brian Wilson joined Opening Day starter Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list Wednesday, Honeycutt said he would have liked more preparation time and games for his pitchers.
"Spring Training is about getting the body physically ready for 162 games," said Honeycutt, who usually has his starters make a minimum of five spring starts, but Kershaw made only four, matching Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren for the team high.
Of course, plenty of teams that didn't go to Australia have been dealing with injuries. And Dodgers officials point out that the actual length of this year's Spring Training was comparable with most recent seasons, the main exception being the lengthy delay (18 days) between the day the Dodgers reported and the date games started (9-13 days in the previous six springs).
Still, Honeycutt said he hopes MLB seeks his input on scheduling before planning another international opener that would require another stilted training camp.
Among the suggestions Honeycutt would make would be to reduce the number of off-days, both after arriving abroad, and also after returning to the United States.
The Dodgers and D-backs left Arizona on a Sunday night, arriving Tuesday morning. They worked out Tuesday and Wednesday, played an exhibition game Thursday night against Team Australia, were off again Friday, then played games that counted Saturday night and Sunday.
The Dodgers returned after the Sunday game, landing in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. They were off Monday, worked out Tuesday and Wednesday, then played exhibition games against the Angels Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Honeycutt also noted that the Dodgers had their schedule further disrupted when the domestic opener was moved up from Monday afternoon to Sunday night to accommodate ESPN.
Honeycutt said Kershaw told him he felt his discomfort during the Opening Night game, but not on a particular pitch.
Wilson expects speedy recovery but won't rush
SAN DIEGO -- Dodgers reliever Brian Wilson said ulna nerve irritation in his right elbow is probably the result of rushing to prepare during a shortened Spring Training, but said he "doesn't imagine it will take very long" for him to return from the disabled list.
Wilson was placed on the 15-day DL on Wednesday, with Jose Dominguez recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to replace him. He'll be eligible to return on April 15.
"I'm not sure how long it will be," said manager Don Mattingly, "but I don't expect anything crazy."
Wilson admitted the twinge he felt in the bullpen before blowing a lead on Sunday was the same sensation he felt on March 10, when he threw a pitch that alarmed pitching coach Rick Honeycutt, resulting in a mound visit by Mattingly. Wilson stayed in that game, too.
"I probably should have said something before I went out there," he said of the Sunday game.
"We tell them all the time to tell us, and all the time they don't tell you," he said. "Don't let little things turn into big things. But guys still don't tell you."
The Spring Training twinge sidelined Wilson for five days. He pitched one inning in Arizona on March 15, the day before the club left for Australia, where on March 22 Wilson pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts against Arizona, but on Wednesday said he didn't feel right then, either.
"It wasn't a total surprise," Mattingly said of finally hearing something was wrong.
Wilson said his fastball doesn't have "zip," the cutter "doesn't have sharp break to it," and he "starts to suffer with location."
Mattingly said Wilson compensated for lack of strength by trying to throw harder, irritating the nerve.
"He fell behind and tried to catch up and changed things," Mattingly said.
Wilson compared the "dull pain" he feels to the dead-arm stage of Spring Training and said he intends to soon go out on a Minor League assignment to get the innings in he missed in Arizona.
"As much as the games are important in April, they're more important in August and September," he said. "I don't want to risk a big series win because I'm trying to get outs in April."
Wilson, who played catch on Wednesday, said he would try throw off a mound in the next day or two and in the Minor Leagues "until my arm feels good and I can do what I'm capable of doing."
Wilson said Dr. Neal ElAttrache told him the twice-repaired ligament in his elbow is sound.
Ryu will make third start in home opener
SAN DIEGO -- Hyun-Jin Ryu, Paul Maholm and Zack Greinke will start the three games of the home-opening series with the Giants Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while rehabbing right-hander Josh Beckett will pitch in a Minor League game Friday.
For Ryu, it will be his third start in the first six games, something the Dodgers were reluctant to let Clayton Kershaw do because of workload concerns. Now Kershaw is on the disabled list and Ryu will be tasked with the rare feat, having healed from a split toenail suffered in his first start in Australia.
The mild surprise is Maholm, who was signed to be insurance if fifth starter Beckett wasn't fully healed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Beckett's recovery, however, was complicated by a bruised right hand suffered in the clubhouse in Spring Training. This will be Maholm's first start since last year.
Beckett will pitch for Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Greinke, who pitched five innings for a win against the Padres on Tuesday, will be pitching on normal rest.
Dodgers claim Minors infielder Triunfel from Mariners
SAN DIEGO -- The Dodgers continued their hoarding of middle infielders Wednesday by claiming Carlos Triunfel on outright waivers from Seattle, adding him to the 40-man roster before optioning him to Triple-A Albuquerque.
The 24-year-old Triunfel split 2013 between the Mariners and Triple-A Tacoma. In his seven Minor League seasons, Triunfel has a .276 batting average. He was designated for assignment by the Mariners.
At shortstop, the Dodgers have starter Hanley Ramirez, who they have said they want to re-sign; top prospect Corey Seager; a pair of Cubans in Alex Guerrero (being moved to second base) and Erisbel Arruebarrena; and now Triunfel.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.