Dodgers News: Walker Buehler Believes Clayton Kershaw Deserves More Appreciation

For multiple years the Los Angeles Dodgers have enjoyed the benefit of their pitching staff being led in large part by Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, but that did not hold true in 2023.

Buehler faced long odds to return this season from a right flexor tendon repair and second Tommy John surgery, and that pursuit was ultimately ended in September when it was announced his focus had shifted to getting healthy for 2024.

Meanwhile, Kershaw was enjoying another stellar season before suffering a left shoulder injury just before the All-Star break. He wound up missing six weeks due to what the team described as shoulder inflammation and saw a decline in velocity upon getting activated off the 15-day injured list.

On Friday, Kershaw announced he underwent left shoulder surgery to repair the glenohumeral ligaments and capsule.

During an appearance on “Roggin and Rodney” show on AM 570 L.A. Sports, Buehler commended Kershaw for continuing to pitch while injured:

“It’s hard to kind of put what Clayton is and what he represents into words. It’s just another story in the legend that is Clayton Kershaw. Whether it went good, bad or ugly, I’ll tell you from trying to pitch the way that he does, it’s not easy. To take that ball knowing that you’re not 100% is even more difficult.

“I don’t know exactly when all this stuff kind of started or whatnot, but the man still had under a 3 ERA in the Major Leagues with all this going on. Just one of the many reasons I think all of us in L.A. and throughout the baseball world should just appreciate and embrace every time that fella steps on the mound.”

Although Dodgers manager Dave Roberts acknowledged Kershaw was not going to get back to 100% health this year, he was confident in the future Hall of Famer being capable of making regular starts. The Dodgers’ trust in Kershaw extended to handing him the ball in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

It wound up being the worst start of Kershaw’s career, but the Dodgers nevertheless planned to have him start Game 4 if they avoided getting swept by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“For me, there’s certain people that get you here that have to get you across the finish line, and this is his role on our ballclub. Game 4 is a ways away. But my thought is learn from the outing and continue to get better and have him start Game 4,” Roberts said at the time.

“For me, that’s the best option, and I see it as the only option. … What I do know is for us to accomplish what we want to this year, we’re going to need Clayton Kershaw to start baseball games. And I’ve got all the confidence in the world that he can do that and he’s going to be just fine.”

Will Clayton Kershaw pitch in 2024?

Along with announcing details of his shoulder surgery, Kershaw said he hoped to return around the midway point of the 2024 regular season.

A rough timeline for the type of operation Kershaw had suggests he potentially could start a throwing program three months into his recovery process and get back on a mound in sixth months.

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