WASHINGTON -- One day after Clayton Kershaw's visit with a hip specialist yielded no new information, the Dodgers continued to not rule anything out regarding their young ace.
Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York examined Kershaw's ailing right hip on Tuesday and agreed with the previous diagnosis made by team physician Neal ElAttrache that the 24-year-old left-hander has an impingement of the right hip, meaning the joint is pinched during rotation of the hip while pitching.
On Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly confirmed that Kershaw has resumed his throwing program of playing catch off flat ground -- a small bit of progress considering Kershaw was unable to do so earlier in the week. But as for the possibility of Kershaw returning to pitch anytime soon, Mattingly wouldn't elaborate.
"I just think he needs to be able to start doing everything he usually does without any pain at all," Mattingly said. "It's up to him, really. He's the one who directs what he wants to release. He kind of dictates how he wants to let information out."
Kershaw is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and a National League-leading 206 strikeouts. His absence has already increased the pressure on the Dodgers' rotation, including newly acquired right-hander Josh Beckett, who was scheduled to start the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Right-hander Aaron Harang took the mound for the first game, while left-hander Chris Capuano closes out the three-game series with the Nationals on Thursday.
When the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati for another pivotal three-game set with the NL Central-leading Reds on Friday, they will be forced to find a replacement for Kershaw. Rookie right-hander Stephen Fife likely will get another outing after a strong start his last time out against the Cardinals on Sunday, but Mattingly has yet to decide how the fifth spot in the rotation will be occupied against the Reds.
"We're up in the air," Mattingly said. "Either somebody goes [on short rest], or [John] Ely, really, is the only guy."
Ely, a right-hander who was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque when rosters expanded on Sept. 1, has made only two appearances this season. He did, however, start 18 games for the Dodgers as a rookie in 2010 and one more in 2011.