Dodgers’ Kershaw goes on DL with swollen muscle in upper back

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday for the first time in his seven-year career because of a swollen muscle in his left upper back.

The 26-year-old left-hander, coming off his second Cy Young Award in three years, already had been scratched from his scheduled start in San Diego on Sunday after an MRI revealed the problem. Kershaw was hoping to get back in the rotation for Friday’s home opener against San Francisco.

Kershaw has made 33 starts, struck out at least 229 batters and logged 227 2-3 innings or more in each of the last three seasons — including a career-high 236 innings last year, when he finished 16-9 with an NL-best 232 strikeouts and a 1.83 ERA.

Kershaw led the majors in ERA for the third straight year, becoming the first pitcher to accomplish that feat since newly elected Hall of Famer Greg Maddux did it from 1993-95.

Kershaw, who signed a $215 million, seven-year contract on Jan. 15, won the Dodgers’ season opener 3-1 against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia last weekend.

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