After signing a three-year, $93 million contract extension to remain with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw made it known he was fueled by criticism he was on the decline.
Although he had the extra motivation, the start of Spring Training did not pan out for the left-handed ace. He was temporarily shut down due to inflammation in his left shoulder, and the first attempt at playing catch did not go well.
However, Kershaw tested his shoulder a couple days after that, and has since continued to move on from the shoulder trouble. After steadily increasing the level of intensity with his throwing sessions, Kershaw was cleared to get off a mound.
Monday’s bullpen session was his first since Feb. 20. Kershaw threw 20 pitches and limited it just his fastball.
Kershaw not holding anything back. 🙌🏼 pic.twitter.com/aCt9tBLkw9
— Alanna Rizzo (@alannarizzo) March 11, 2019
Clayton Kershaw, throwing off a mound for the first time in nearly three weeks. pic.twitter.com/DYmScaOAHm
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) March 11, 2019
Assuming he does not suffer any sort of setback, Kershaw should throw another bullpen session at which point he presumably would begin to incorporate some off-speed pitches. From there, he would advance to throwing live batting practice and that could be followed by making his 2019 Cactus League debut.
Though, the Dodgers are content taking matters one day at a time. And despite Kershaw not being built up in any capacity, the club has maintained the door is not shut on the three-time Cy Young Award winner making his scheduled start on Opening Day.