The Los Angeles Dodgers opened Spring Training with the return of Clayton Kershaw, who re-signed with the team on a one-year contract for the 2022 season. Kershaw’s deal reportedly is worth $17 million and includes incentives.
Kershaw confirmed the decision in free agency ultimately came down to remaining with the Dodgers or joining his hometown Texas Rangers. “I’m excited to be here,” he said from Camelback Ranch.
The soon-to-be-34-year-old added he was fully recovered from left forearm/elbow trouble that prevented him from pitching in the postseason last year. However, Kershaw revealed it wasn’t until January 1 that he began throwing.
“Wasn’t really sure how it was going to react, but thankful I feel great now. I’m throwing live [Monday] so it will be a good assessment to see where I’m at and keep progressing from there,” he explained.
Kershaw’s one inning of live batting practice came against Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and AJ Pollock on a backfield at Camelback Ranch.
Clayton Kershaw vs. Mookie Betts
This is the first time Kershaw has faced batters live all offseason pic.twitter.com/R6TWkW4cGW
— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) March 14, 2022
— Juan Toribio (@juanctoribio) March 14, 2022
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) March 14, 2022
Although Kershaw may be behind his usual throwing progression at this point on the calendar, he anticipates the condensed Spring Training should still allow him to adequately stretch out in time for Opening Day.
Of course, the Dodgers have not yet announced who will start their season opener on April 8 against the Colorado Rockies. Kershaw has made nine Opening Day starts, a Dodgers franchise record.
L.A. is 7-2 in those games, with their losses coming to the San Francisco Giants in 2018, and Rockies last year.
Kershaw prioritized competing in World Series
Although the left-hander shares a close relationship with Rangers general manager Chris Young, he explained the Dodgers being better positioned to contend for a World Series was a significant factor when mulling over a decision in free agency.
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