Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Clayton Kershaw reported early for Spring Training and expected to need a quick buildup so he could compete with Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
However, he was unable to secure the required insurance and Kershaw was forced to withdraw from the international tournament. Kershaw remained in Dodgers camp ahead of his regular throwing schedule and took a step back before ramping up for Opening Day.
Kershaw resumed throwing with multiple bullpen sessions that led to facing teammates in live batting practice before starting in a B game against players from the Chicago White Sox organization. It wasn’t until March 10 that Kershaw made his first Cactus League start, and he came out of it feeling good.
While it was an unusual process of preparing for the season, Kershaw explained he favored the slower process, via SportsNet LA:
“I kind of like it, honestly. I think last year proved that we showed up March 5 and had enough time to be ready to go. So I feel like having that extra time in spring Training to get here and go a little bit slower, I kind of liked it, honestly. Now we’re kind of full-go, I’ll be pitching in games and building up the pitch count. That first week, 10 days, it was kind of nice to chill out for a minute.”
The Dodgers will rely on Kershaw to once again pitch at the top of their rotation, just as he has for much of his career. It would not be surprising to see Kershaw named the Opening Day starter on March 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but Julio Urías will also be considered for the start.
Although Kershaw’s 2022 season was limited to just 22 starts, he was still among the best pitchers in the game, highlighted by a 2.28 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers this offseason amid speculation he could retire or join his hometown Texas Rangers.
Adam Wainwright disappointed Clayton Kershaw could not join Team USA
Even after Kershaw reportedly tried to attain an insurance policy himself, he was left with no other option than to take himself off the Team USA roster, which left him upset with the outcome.
St. Louis Cardinals longtime ace Adam Wainwright also expressed his disappointment of not being able to be teammates with the three-time Cy Young Award winner.
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