Dodgers Spring Training: Clayton Kershaw Continuously Played Catch In What Was ‘Truly Healthy Offseason’
Clayton Kershaw, 2020 Spring Training
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 season was a mixed bag for longtime Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. He missed all of Spring Training and the first two weeks of April due to a shoulder injury, preventing him from making what would have been a franchise-record ninth straight start on Opening Day.

While that streak was ultimately snapped, the time off proved beneficial for Kershaw. He strung off four consecutive quality starts to begin his campaign, cruising for much of the first half en route to his eighth career All-Star selection.

Kershaw was just as efficient in the second half and finished the year on a strong surface, only for his postseason struggles to resurface against the Washington Nationals.

The 31-year-old pitched to a 7.11 ERA in two National League Division Series appearances, most notably allowing back-to-back, game-tying home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in the deciding Game 5.

After a disappointing end to an otherwise solid year, Kershaw revealed that he changed his approach this offseason, via Ken Gurnick of

“I feel a lot better,” he said. “It’s fun. It feels good. Throughout the course of the season I felt pretty good, but to have a truly healthy offseason, I think I knew what to do a little better. I did do something different this offseason. I never really did stop throwing. I took a week off, then played catch twice or three times a week leading into the actual throwing program. It’s the first year I’ve done that.

“It makes a lot of sense to me. It gets harder and harder to ramp up as you go. I think rest is really important, but sometimes active rest — just being sedentary and not moving your arm at times — can cause more damage than good. So, I kept my arm moving and, right now, feel great. We’ll see if it pays off.”

Kershaw believes that his increased activity over the winter will allow him to pick right back up from last season. It’s a similar approach Kenley Jansen is taking this spring, as he will be more aggressive with his throwing program than in years past, and one Walker Buehler also stuck with during the winter.

The 2020 season will mark Kershaw’s 13th in the big leagues. He is coming off a year in which he went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA and 189 strikeouts over 178.1 innings in 29 games (28 starts).

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