Clayton Kershaw to avoid surgery, but he’s out for playoffs; Max Muncy unlikely to play

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 1, 2021: Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts (30) removes.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, second from left, is removed from the game Friday after injuring his left elbow. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The Dodgers won’t be getting one of their star pitchers back for the playoffs, and are holding out only slim hope that one of their most important hitters will be able to play later this month.

Manager Dave Roberts announced Tuesday that pitcher Clayton Kershaw isn’t expected to return for the playoffs from an injury in his throwing arm, officially ending the left-hander’s last season with the club before entering free agency.

Roberts also said there was a “glimmer of hope” that first baseman Max Muncy would be able to return at some point in the playoffs from a left elbow injury, but that his specific timeline remained unclear.

The Dodgers host the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in the National League wild-card game.

Kershaw, 33, exited his final start of the regular season Friday in the second inning with left forearm discomfort. Though Roberts said Tuesday that Kershaw didn’t suffer any ligament damage in his elbow and won’t need Tommy John surgery, the manager said the team isn’t planning on getting the three-time Cy Young Award winner back at any point during the postseason.

Kershaw missed more than two months earlier this season with a left elbow injury but returned in September hopeful he could play a key role in the Dodgers’ World Series title defense.

Instead, after walking off the Dodger Stadium mound Friday night, he told reporters he thought it would be unlikely he would be able to pitch in the playoffs. The news Tuesday confirmed those fears.

Roberts didn’t say what the timeline on Kershaw’s recovery would be but noted that scans showed the worst-case scenario was averted.

“The great thing is that the scans showed there is no ligament damage, so that’s something that is a sigh of relief for everyone,” Roberts said.

Muncy, 31, will also be able to avoid surgery but doesn’t know how long his recovery process will take. Wearing an arm brace Tuesday, he told reporters that he dislocated his elbow and suffered other damage in his arm from a collision at first base during Sunday’s regular-season finale.

“He’s really sore,” Roberts added. “Range of motion is not good, which is to be expected. It’s something that we feel with time and rehab, he’ll be fine and back to normal. But what it means for the next four weeks, that’s the wait and see.”

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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