Clayton Kershaw took the mound Friday night for what potentially could be his final start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it lasted all of 1.2 innings as he was removed due to another bout with left forearm discomfort.
Kershaw stranded a leadoff single to toss a scoreless first inning, but the Brewers opened the second with three consecutive hits to tie the game. An RBI groundout gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead, and after Kolten Wong’s two-out RBI double, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and head athletic trainer Neil Rampe made their way to the mound.
There was a brief conversation in which Kershaw appeared to attempt convincing Roberts and Rampe that the could continue pitching, but that ended with the 33-year-old walking off the mound with the look of frustration and disappointment on his face, and baseball in his hand.
The outing was Kershaw’s fourth start since returning from the 60-day injured list. He missed eight weeks because of left forearm inflammation/elbow soreness, but had pitched without any sort of hindrance upon returning.
Roberts remarked prior to first pitch that he had been most pleased with Kershaw’s health over the past month.
“I think the biggest thing is the way his body has responded after the starts,” he said. “I think you can look at there’s been some really good command, but the last one there wasn’t good command. So I think the most important is the recovery part of it.
“I’ll bet he’s going to come out and pitch really well tonight.”
Will Dodgers re-sign Kershaw?
From president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to Roberts and players, there has been endless praise for Kershaw and his importance to the organization.
When Kershaw last was due to become a free agent, he and the Dodgers worked together on what eventually became a three-year, $93 million contract extension after the 2018 season. They mutually agreed to push back the deadline for Kershaw to decide on his opt-out clause as negotiations were ongoing.
The opt-out was included in a seven-year contract extension Kershaw signed in January 2014. It allowed for him to potentially reach free agency at 30 years old.
Kershaw previously spoke of his desire to remain with the only organization he’s known, but cautioned that he wasn’t sure how matters would unfold.
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