Dodgers Spring Training: Clayton Kershaw ‘Really Encouraged’ After Facing Hitters

The Los Angeles Dodgers’ top priority this offseason was to re-sign Clayton Kershaw, and they were able to quickly accomplish that once the MLB lockout ended and free agency resumed.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner entered the offseason as a free agent recovering from a left flexor tendon strain that prevented him from pitching in the 2021 postseason. Kershaw has also revealed he didn’t begin throwing again until January 1.

The soon-to-be-34-year-old wanted to wait to sign a new contract until he was fully healthy and ultimately chose to re-sign with the Dodgers rather than join his hometown Texas Rangers.

Now that he’s back in Spring Training camp with the Dodgers, Kershaw has already begun pitching to batters in live batting practice and he said he is feeling good after the first session, via Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:

“I was really encouraged by today,” said Kershaw, who is hopeful of being ready for opening day. “I felt like everything came out as good as it can for the first time. Hadn’t faced hitters, hadn’t thrown off a dirt mound yet — to do all that stuff and come away feeling good and feel my stuff was in a decent spot was encouraging.”

Kershaw’s one inning of live BP came against Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and AJ Pollock on a backfield at Camelback Ranch.

Although Kershaw may be behind his usual throwing progression at this point on the calendar, he still anticipates that he will be ready for Opening Day on April 8.

The Dodgers have not yet announced who will start their season opener against the Colorado Rockies, but Kershaw has made a franchise-record nine Opening Day starts.

Trevor Bauer on administrative leave to begin Spring Training

The Dodgers touted due diligence when introducing Trevor Bauer after signing him to a three-year contract, only to be embroiled in controversy five months later as he faced sexual assault allegations.

Bauer made 17 starts in his first season with the Dodgers before being placed on administrative leave by MLB on July 2. That wound up being extended several times and kept the right-hander off the field for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Per terms of his three-year, $102 million contract, Bauer received a $20 million lump sum in November. He additionally exercised a player option to remain under contract with the Dodgers for the 2022 season.

But as players reported to Camelback Ranch for the start of Spring Training, Bauer was not be among them as he again was put on administrative leave. The earliest date he can join the Dodgers is Sunday, March 20.

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