Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
When news broke that longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw would no longer be pitching for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the national squad lost arguably its best starting pitcher for the international competition.
Although unconfirmed by the 34-year-old himself, speculation has swirled in recent days that Kershaw’s cause of withdrawal was a result of being unable to secure an insurance policy for his WBC play. That is presumed to stem from Kershaw’s history of back injuries and significant left elbow trouble that surfaced in 2021.
Even after reportedly trying to attain one himself, Kershaw was left with no other option than to take himself off the Team USA roster.
Beyond Kershaw’s clear disappointment, St. Louis Cardinals rotational staple Adam Wainwright expressed his disappointment of not being able to be teammates with the three-time Cy Young Award winner, via Ken Rosenthal and Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic:
“I’m just disappointed I don’t get to play with him,” Wainwright said. “Every year, anybody who ever played with both of us, goes, ‘Dude, you would love this guy. You would love to play with him. He would be your favorite.’”
Displaying a similar lineage to that of Kershaw, Wainwright in his own respects has continued to be one of the most consistent starters in all of baseball throughout his career.
In 2022, in his age-40 season, the right-hander posted a 3.71 ERA across an impressive 32 starts while striking out 143 in 191.2 innings. Despite missing Kershaw’s camaraderie in the upcoming WBC, the two were both teammates on the National League All-Star teams in 2013 and 2014.
Although Kershaw’s 2022 season was highlighted by a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP, that came in just 22 starts due to multiple stints on the injured list because of back trouble.
While Team USA will still boasts immensely talented roster, and pitching staff headlined by Wainwright, his Cardinals’ teammate Miles Mikolas, Chicago White Sox’s Lance Lynn, and Kansas City Royals’ Brady Singer, the squad will be sure to miss Kershaw’s talent and leadership.
Dodgers didn’t waive insurance requirement for Clayton Kershaw
When revealing he had withdrawn from the WBC, Kershaw said, “We tried a lot of different things, all sides really tried to make it work.”
A potential solution could have been the Dodgers waiving the insurance requirement for Kershaw, but they declined to do so.
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