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Clayton Kershaw back on the mound, back with the Dodgers, with no regrets

Kershaw makes second start of spring, against Cleveland

MLB: Spring Training-Los Angeles Dodgers-Workouts Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw is back on the mound Wednesday for the Dodgers against the newly-named Guardians at Camelback Ranch in Arizona. It’s the second start of spring training for Kershaw, who threw 21 pitches and recorded five outs in Friday’s Cactus League opener.

Dodgers-Guardians lineups

Pos Guardians Pos Dodgers
Pos Guardians Pos Dodgers
CF Zimmer (L) LF Lux (L)
1B Miller 2B Muncy (L)
LF Reyes 3B Turner
DH Bradley (L) C Smith
C Maile RF Lamb (L)
2B Arias SS Alvarez (S)
RF González 1B Vargas
3B Clement CF Outman (L)
SS Rocchio (S) DH Vivas (L)
Clayton Kershaw vs. Shane Bieber

What the Dodgers get this year out of Kershaw, in his 15th major league season, is more in question than ever. He missed over two months last season with elbow soreness, then a recurrence in his final start wiped out his postseason, too. Kershaw didn’t need surgery, but opted for a platelet-rich plasma injection into his elbow followed by months of rest this offseason.

Kershaw signed a one-year, $17 million contract to return to the Dodgers just after the lockout was lifted.

Dylan Hernández at the Los Angeles Times caught up with Kershaw in Arizona, and asked if he had any regrets about the heavy workload earlier in his career. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. I did what I think the team needed me to do,” Kershaw told Hernández.

Kershaw from 2010-15, from ages 22-28, Kershaw averaged 32 starts and 222 innings, ranking third in MLB in innings pitched during that span while winning three Cy Young Awards. In the five full seasons since then (2016-19, 2021), Kershaw averaged 25 starts and 157 innings.

Kershaw during those prime years also started on three days rest in four consecutive NL Division Series from 2013-16, and pitched in relief to close out the 2016 NLDS. Basically whatever the Dodgers needed, Kershaw was up for, sometimes to his detriment. Hernández asked Kershaw if he was proud of those attempts:

“I don’t know if proud is the right word,” Kershaw said. “The participation trophy doesn’t do it for me. At the end of the day, I would have been proud if we won. If our team thinks I’m the best option to go win the game, I’ll do it. I take pride in that. I take pride in your team and your management, everybody thinking you’re the right guy for that.”

Among the pitchers expected to follow Kershaw on the mound Wednesday include Blake Treinen in what will be his first game appearance this spring, plus Daniel Hudson, Justin Bruihl, and non-roster invitee Yency Almonte.

2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber starts on the mound for Cleveland.

Spring training Game 6 info

  • Teams: Dodgers vs. Guardians
  • Location: Camelback Ranch, Glendale, Arizona
  • Time: 1:05 p.m. PT
  • TV: SportsNet LA
  • Radio: AM 570. KTNQ 1020 (Spanish)