Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Healthy, But Not Pitching For Team USA In 2023 World Baseball Classic

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Clayton Kershaw has accomplished plenty throughout what will one day be reflected on as a Hall of Fame career, but representing Team USA in the World Baseball Classic remained a box unchecked.

That was poised to change this year as Kershaw was among the many high-profile players who committed to representing the United States in the international tournament. However, this week it became apparent the left-hander had encountered some trouble and his status for the 2023 WBC was in jeopardy.

On Friday, Kershaw announced he was withdrawing from the Team USA roster.

The longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace expressed disappointment with the situation and made it clear his decision was not due to health, via ESPN’s Alden González:

“I’m not going to be able to play in the WBC. Super disappointing. We tried a lot of different things, all sides really tried to make it work. Nothing is wrong with me. It just didn’t work out. I really wanted to do it. I really wanted to be a part of that group. Probably my last chance to do it, so I really wanted to be able to do it. Just didn’t work out for a number of reasons. Disappointing, but that’s OK. I’ll be ready for the season and be ready to go.”

When asked for the specific reason behind no longer being able to pitch for Team USA, Kershaw declined to share any insight:

“I don’t think that’s super important. There were just some factors that were making it hard for me to play. I tried to work it out on my own, I tried to work it out with the MLB union, the team. Everybody worked hard to try to make it work. Just wasn’t able to.”

Although the likes of Mookie Betts, Mike Trout, Trea Turner and a bevy of marquee position players are featured on the Team USA roster, their pitching staff has taken a hit.

Kershaw joins New York Yankees All-Star Nestor Cortes (hamstring injury) in pulling out of the World Baseball Classic, and Texas Rangers’ Nathan Eovaldi and San Francisco Giants ace Logan Webb were not included when the roster was officially announced despite both previously verbally committing.

Why isn’t Clayton Kershaw playing in WBC?

Prior to Kershaw formally announcing his withdrawal from Team USA, it was reported he encountered trouble getting insured for the event. Such was the case for Sonny Gray in 2017, when he too had to sit out.

Although Kershaw is healthy at present time, he has a long history of back injuries and also suffered a significant left elbow/forearm strain in 2021.

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