After signing a three-year, $93 million contract extension to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw said he held added motivation to bounce back in 2019 because of mounting criticism.
Despite an offseason filled with workouts aimed at improving his back stability and overall core, Kershaw fell victim to injury early into Spring Training. Coming off a season in which he dealt with back and biceps trouble, the left-hander was sidelined by shoulder inflammation.
The revelation came days after Dodgers manager Dave Roberts named Kershaw the club’s Opening Day starter. Despite his throwing program being halted for several days, Roberts maintained Kershaw could still be in position to start March 28 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
However, that’s now changed, as Roberts formally ruled out Kershaw for a ninth consecutive Opening Day start, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Kershaw will not start Opening Day, Roberts said.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 18, 2019
Roberts confirmed what seemed to be a reality for the past several days. Kershaw only recently threw a bullpen session with his entire pitch mix and has yet to appear in a Cactus League game.
He’s due to throw live batting practice on Wednesday, and what will follow is currently unclear. He conceivably could pitch in the exhibition Freeway Series, but Roberts has not committed to such a plan.
Although generally frustrated by how his spring has gone, Kershaw is pleased with recent progression and the team’s path to getting him healthy.