(Reuters) - Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from his next start due to a back injury, the team announced on Wednesday.
The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner, and two-time winner overall, underwent an MRI scan that revealed an inflamed back muscle.
Kershaw pitched 6 2/3 innings of a season-opening win in Australia last week without any setbacks, but will reluctantly sit for the Dodgers' opener on home soil against San Diego on Sunday.
"I really wanted to pitch," Kershaw told reporters. "I just had to admit I don't feel right. I don't know how I did it. It's probably nothing I'm too worried about."
The 26-year-old Kershaw is coming off a stellar 2013 season, in which he posted a Major League-best 1.83 ERA and was again crowned the league's best pitcher.
The Dodgers rewarded Kershaw with a record-breaking contract worth $215 million in the off-season as they hitch their World Series hopes to his left arm.
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien