Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw left Thursday's game against the San Francisco Giants after four innings with a back injury:
He was replaced by Phil Bickford.
The Dodgers later announced Kershaw left with lower back pain.
The Dodgers placed Kershaw on the injured list May 13 with pelvic joint inflammation. It was a tough blow for the 34-year-old, who had enjoyed a solid start to the 2022 season, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, 0.733 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 30 innings across five starts.
Kershaw didn't return until a June 11 outing against the Giants in which he pitched four innings in a 3-2 loss, allowing two runs on three hits and striking out four.
The 34-year-old entered the game at 7-3 on the season with a 2.66 ERA, 0.98 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 81.1 innings across 14 starts.
Kershaw has been hampered by injuries over the last two seasons. He started 22 games last season, posting a 10-8 record, 3.55 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP, but he missed the playoffs with a forearm injury.
He signed a one-year deal to return to the Dodgers this year following the departure of Max Scherzer, but his injury history was a slight cause for concern. That said, the team still boasts a rotation that includes Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson.
The Dodgers entered Thursday's against the Giants with a 70-33 record, good for first place place in the NL West.