Dodgers Evaluating Next Step For Clayton Kershaw In Spring Training

The Los Angeles Dodgers opened Cactus League play with non-roster invitee Mike Kickham on the mound, but have since started regulars from their rotation. With Trevor Bauer and Walker Buehler already doing the honors and Julio Urias starting Wednesday, it leaves Clayton Kershaw and David Price.

Kershaw has thrown multiple bullpen sessions — with the latest coming Tuesday — and also faced batters on a backfield at Camelback Ranch. He presumably is primed to get into a Cactus League game, but the Dodgers have not yet made that decision.

“I don’t know if he’s going to face hitters again or in three days he’ll be in a game,” manager Dave Roberts. “We’re still talking about that, making sure Clayton feels good coming out of the ‘pen. Right now I don’t know that answer but I expect to see him soon in a Cactus League game.”

When asked to compare Kershaw’s physical condition to last spring, Roberts described it as, “better than it was a year ago and business as usual.”

Kershaw is coming off a resurgent season in which he had better zip on the fastball and other than a brush with back discomfort that cropped up just before Opening Day, remained healthy. Even with that blip in the radar, Kershaw and the Dodgers have voiced confidence in the workout program he’s on.

The left-hander was ranked among the top starting pitchers heading into the 2021 season.

Kershaw refutes retirement reports

Entering the final year of a contract extension signed after the 2018 season, comments Kershaw made led to speculation he was considering retiring after this year. However, he clarified those remarks by explaining the focus is only on the upcoming season.

“I want to re-evaluate at the end of every year and see how we’re doing. As a family, myself personally, where we are as a team, and then just make a decision from there,” Kershaw said.

“I have no intentions of hanging ’em up. I’m only 32 and feel like I’ve got a few more years left in the tank. If you ask me right now, I really still love playing, I feel healthy, I feel like the ball’s coming out good. I’m excited for this year, and that’s kind of really all I meant.

“I’m focused on this year and trying to win a World Series. After this year we’ll figure things out.”

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