2023 Los Angeles Dodgers Player Reviews: Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw put together a productive season in his 16th year pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but it was one marred by a left shoulder injury that ultimately required surgery.

After a slower buildup during Spring Training due to withdrawing from the 2023 World Baseball Classic because of insurance issues, Kershaw began the regular season on a strong note and earned National League Pitcher of the Month honors for April.

Through 16 starts in the first half of 2023, he went 10-4 with a 2.55 ERA while holding opponents to a .216/.269/.355 batting line.

But he was put on the 15-day injured list July 3 due to left shoulder soreness. The Dodgers initially expected their longtime ace would return immediately after the All-Star break, but more rest was recommended and Kershaw didn’t get activated until August 10.

The injury prevented him from pitching — and potentially starting — in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park. That was a disappointing development, but Kershaw and his family still enjoyed making the trip to Seattle to be part of the festivities.

Kershaw and the Dodgers declined to provide specifics of his shoulder injury, with manager Dave Roberts only willing to admit the left-hander was not going to be back to 100% during the season.

Kershaw’s command and velocity were both subpar when he returned, but the 35-year-old still managed to allow just one run in each of his four starts during August.

That changed in a rough outing against the Miami Marlins to begin September, which seemingly was rock bottom for Kershaw. He did bounce back in three ensuing starts even if pitching deep into games remained unattainable.

Even with some of the struggles and health issues, Kershaw finished the 2023 season with a 13-5 record, 2.46 ERA and 1.06 WHIP.

The Dodgers named Kershaw their Game 1 starter in the National League Division Series, with Roberts expressing confidence in both his health and capability. But Kershaw turned in the worst start of his career and never got another opportunity to pitch as the Dodgers were swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

On November 3, Kershaw announced he underwent left shoulder surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule. The procedure was completed by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Clayton Kershaw 2023 highlight

Kershaw reached multiple milestones during the 2023 season, including reaching 400 career starts, 200 wins and a victory against every opponent faced.

2024 outlook

Kershaw remains a Dodgers free agent as he’s not expected to return from shoulder surgery until midway through the 2024 season. The expectation remains Kershaw will choose between re-signing with the Dodgers or joining his hometown Texas Rangers.

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