Clayton Kershaw will not be able tk take part in the World Baseball Classic. He didn’t go into details as to why, but he said he’s completely healthy and oftentimes called it “disappointing.” pic.twitter.com/EvWzxX2ely— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 17, 2023
“I’m not going to be able to play in the WBC. It’s super disappointing. We tried a lot of different things. All sides really tried to make it work,” Kershaw said Friday. “Nothing is wrong with me. It just didn’t work out. I really wanted to do it. I really wanted to be a part of that group. It was probably my last chance to get to do it, so I really wanted to do it, but it just didn’t work out for a number of reasons. Disappointing, but it’s okay. I’ll be ready for the season.”
Kershaw joined Team USA in December for what would have been his first World Baseball Classic, at the time calling it a huge honor. He declined on Friday to detail the specific reason he was unable to pitch in the tournament.
“There were some factors that were making it hard for me to play. I tried to work it out on my own,” Kershaw said. “Tried to work it out with MLB, union, the team, everybody. Everybody worked hard to try to make it work, but just wasn’t able to.”
Jack Harris at the Los Angeles Times on Thursday was the first to report obstacles that stood in the way of Kershaw pitching in the WBC, including speaking with Team USA general manager Tony Reagins, who said “there are some challenges in getting Clayton cleared.”
On Friday, Jorge Castillo of the LA Times reported that Kershaw’s problem was with insurance coverage. Fabian Ardaya and Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic reported the same, even noting the extraordinary lengths Kershaw was willing to go to participate in the event:
The World Baseball Classic has remained an unchecked box for Kershaw in an illustrious career. Even up until the final decision, Kershaw had been lobbying to pitch in the event — to the point that the 34-year-old even sought out taking his own personal policy for the event, the sources said.
“I’m blown away that he was willing to pursue every avenue to try and put the USA across his chest and represent us in the WBC,” Team USA manager Mark DeRosa told The Athletic. “At the end of the day, it just seemed like there were way too many things he had to do.”
Statement from Team USA GM Tony Reagins … pic.twitter.com/0P19Bo4pzg— Alden González (@Alden_Gonzalez) February 17, 2023
With Kershaw no longer participating in the World Baseball Classic, he told reporters he will remain in Dodgers camp for the entirety of spring training.
Clayton Kershaw on frustration of not being able to play WBC:— Jack Harris (@Jack_A_Harris) February 17, 2023
"They should make it easy for guys that want to play to play. Obviously, if [your MLB] team doesn’t want you to play, that’s one thing. But if you have the team’s blessing, like I did, it should be easier.”
Pool play in the WBC begins on March 11.