When Clayton Kershaw walked off the mound at Dodger Stadium last October, there were many who wondered if that marked the end of an illustrious career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He wound up missing the postseason due to another bout of left forearm trouble. He had previously missed two months during the 2021 season after a failed attempt to rush a return from left forearm inflammation/elbow soreness.
Although Kershaw managed to avoid Tommy John surgery, a platelet-rich plasma injection (PRP) injection did not lend to a quick recovery. He didn’t begin an offseason throwing program until January and openly said the MLB lockout was beneficial in terms of providing more time to recover because of Spring Training being delayed.
Kershaw ultimately re-signed with the Dodgers on a one-year contract after determining he was healthy enough to continue forward and amid interest from his hometown Texas Rangers.
Kershaw could be roughly one month from needing to make a decision on his future, and currently he doesn’t anticipate retiring after the 2022 season, according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“As of now, I haven’t really thought a whole lot about next year,” he said. “But I do think I’m leaning towards playing over not, for sure.”
Kershaw added that his stance on possibly retiring could theoretically change come the offseason:
“I hold the right to change my mind, but as of today, I think that I’ve got at least one more run,” he said.
Kershaw possibly retiring has not been any sort of distraction for the Dodgers this season nor become a significant talking point even as he twice was put on the injured list because of back trouble.
Kershaw been placed on the IL for various back injuries during the 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2022 seasons.
He missed 41 days in 2014 because of back inflammation, 74 days due to a disc herniation in 2016, and a back strain cost him 39 days during the 2017 seasons. Kershaw also endured shorter IL stints in 2018 and 2020, and missed one month for both back injuries this year.
Dodgers need Clayton Kershaw in postseason
Despite again dealing with back trouble, Kershaw has been plenty effective when on the mound. He’s 9-3 with a 2.39 ERA and allowed two earned runs or fewer in his last five starts.
That type of success is going to be paramount for the Dodgers in the postseason, as Kershaw’s importance has increased in the wake of Walker Buehler undergoing a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery, and Tony Gonsolin facing some uncertainty amid his attempted recovery from forearm strain.
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