Although he wasn’t required to, Clayton Kershaw threw an unofficial bullpen session upon reporting to Camelback Ranch for the start of Spring Training. Kershaw’s throwing session came the day before Los Angeles Dodgers pitchers and catchers held their first official workout.
He began the natural progression toward facing batters, but after some frustration in live batting practice and again in a bullpen, Kershaw was temporarily shut down. He and the Dodgers remained vague on the nature of his trouble.
Kershaw’s only comments on the matter have been he was taking “a few days” to rest and reset. It has since come to light he’s dealing with inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
After limiting his workouts to the weight room and receiving treatment, Kershaw tested his shoulder this week by playing catch. It was not considered a success, though Kershaw was scheduled to attempt throwing again on Thursday.
That lasted all of 15 minutes but Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman indicated it was a success, per Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
“I think the biggest thing is Kersh is not the most patient person in the world,” Friedman said. “He wants to go out and compete. We certainly get it. We’re early enough in spring training that we have a little bit of time. Today went pretty well. I’m sure he’ll pick up a ball and do it again tomorrow. We’ll kind of go from there.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts relayed a positive sentiment from Kershaw:
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts called the session “encouraging.”
“He said it felt better than it did on Monday,” Roberts said.
Although the three-time Cy Young Award winner has been dogged by the shoulder trouble, the Dodgers have not deemed it necessary he undergo an MRI. With that, the level of concern has remained mild, with Roberts pointing to the amount of time remaining in Spring Training.
— Dodger Blue (@DodgerBlue1958) February 27, 2019
The expectation remains Kershaw, who signed a three-year, $93 million contract extension in the offseason, will extend his franchise record by making a ninth consecutive Opening Day start.