Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Potentially Missing 2023 World Baseball Classic

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UPDATE (February 17, 11:25 a.m. PT): Clayton Kershaw withdrew from pitching for Team USA in the 2023 World Baseball Classic for unspecified reasons.

As one star after another announced his intentions to play in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was excited to to commit to Team USA this spring.

“We were all watching USA soccer and the World Cup, and how special that is to wear the jersey and how many people get behind that,” Kershaw said prior to joining the roster.

When the Team USA roster was announced, Kershaw was accompanied by Dodgers teammates Mookie Betts and Will Smith. The likes of Austin Barnes, Freddie Freeman, David Peralta, Miguel Rojas, Trayce Thompson and Julio Urías are competing with their respective countries.

Although Kershaw was included on the Team USA roster, general manager Tony Reagins said he is in danger of not getting cleared for the WBC, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

U.S. general manager Tony Reagins, however, acknowledged Thursday that “there are some challenges in getting Clayton cleared” for the international tournament.

Kershaw acknowledged there are hurdles that need to be cleared, but maintained an expectation he will get a chance to play for the United States:

“There’s some complications right now,” he said. “Still working through some of that stuff now. I don’t have any finite answers. But assuming I’m on the team, I’ll be there when everybody else is. That’s all I really have on that one.”

It’s presumed the obstacles Kershaw has encountered is likely related to obtaining insurance coverage. In previous years, players who failed to secure insurance were not permitted to play in the WBC.

Kershaw is said to have a clean bill of health as 2023 Spring Training gets underway, but he has a long history of back injuries and suffered left elbow/forearm trouble as recently as 2021.

Clayton Kershaw not worried about MLB pitch clock

As the three-time Cy Young Award works to get cleared for the WBC, Kershaw recently said new MLB rules, and specifically the pitch timer, were not of much concern.

“I’m assuming somebody will tell me if I don’t go fast enough,” he said. “And if I don’t go fast enough, I’ll have to work on it. But as far as I know, I think I’m fast enough. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

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