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Specialist says Kershaw can pitch without risking hip damage

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Associated Press
9/18/2012 7:25:20 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw was examined Tuesday by a hip specialist who said the Los Angeles left-hander can continue to pitch without risking damage to his sore right hip -- but the Dodgers want to keep him sidelined if the pain persists.

The team said Kershaw would re-start a throwing program Tuesday, when the Dodgers' scheduled game at the Washington Nationals was postponed by rain.

Asked whether Kershaw will pitch again this season, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly replied: "Yeah, maybe. Sounds like there's a chance of it."

"What I really want, at the end of the day, is to make sure we do the right thing for Clayton moving forward. I know we'll do the right thing for him, so that's not really a concern," Mattingly said.

Kershaw was scratched from a start on Sunday because of the right hip. He is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and NL-leading 206 strikeouts this season.

The Dodgers said Dr. Bryan Kelly, who saw Kershaw in New York, agreed with team physician Neal ElAttrache's opinion that Kershaw's joint is pinched during the hip's rotation in his pitching motion.

"It didn't seem like there was anything really new that we haven't heard before," Mattingly said.

The team will seek medical opinions from other hip specialists and already have passed along MRI exams and other tests.

"He's really competitive, but he also knows he can't pitch at certain points. If he can't throw, he knows he can't compete," Mattingly said. "I get the sense that it's something that's fairly serious, but that he's not hurting himself."

Los Angeles entered Tuesday 76-71 and in second place in the NL West, eight games behind the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers also were one game out of a wild-card berth.

Tuesday's rained-out game was rescheduled for Wednesday as part of a single-admission doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. EDT.

The Dodgers will use right-hander Aaron Harang, Tuesday's scheduled starter, and right-hander Josh Beckett, who was supposed to pitch Wednesday night. Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he expected to go with right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and left-hander John Lannan as his pitchers Wednesday.

NOTES: Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, who has 25 saves, has been cleared to pitch again after being held out because of an irregular heartbeat. He last appeared in a game on Aug. 27. ... Washington's Lannan, who spent most of the season at Triple-A Syracuse, is 3-0 in three starts in the majors this season. He is the pitcher who replaced Stephen Strasburg in the Nationals rotation.

Clayton Kershaw (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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