Dodgers Spring Training: Clayton Kershaw Taking ‘Little Step Back’

Clayton Kershaw reported for the start of Spring Training ahead of most other Los Angeles Dodgers teammates due to his expected participation in the 2023 World Baseball Classic.

However, the three-time Cy Young Award winner announced last week he was withdrawing from being on the Team USA roster. Kershaw did not reveal the specific reason behind his decision, but multiple reports have indicated it was due to not being able to obtain insurance for the WBC.

Kershaw asserted he arrived at Camelback Ranch healthy, which further supported the notion his trouble securing an insurance policy was due to a long history of back injuries and elbow trouble in 2021.

With Kershaw no longer pitching for the United States in the WBC, manager Dave Roberts said the Dodgers are having the left-hander back off his throwing program and there is not a set date to face batters:

David Vassegh of AM 570 L.A. Sports:

To this point, the 34-year-old has advanced to throw bullpen sessions. While Kershaw has yet to face hitters on a backfield at Camelback Ranch, the likes of Julio Urías, Tony Gonsolin and Ryan Pepiot are among those who have.

For as much as Spring Training is utilized for starting pitchers to build up, Kershaw and the Dodgers prioritize the regular season and understand the long road ahead.

Dodgers supported Clayton Kershaw for WBC

As Kershaw looked to add pitching in a World Baseball Classic to his list of accomplishments, he had support from the Dodgers even when obstacles arose.

“Andrew (Friedman) was great through the whole thing and said, ‘Whatever you need to do to make it work if you want to do it,'” Kershaw said.

“Obviously it’s not the first choice of any team to let their guy play for somebody else, but they were great about it.”

However, the Dodgers could have chosen to waive the insurance requirement for Kershaw, just as the Detroit Tigers did with Miguel Cabrera, but they decided against doing so.

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