The last few years have been filled with injuries for future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, and it was clear he was not right at the end of the season that just ended.
Kershaw, who turns 36 in March, had a 2.46 ERA in 24 starts for the Los Angeles Dodgers. And he pitched to a 2.23 ERA in his final eight starts of the season after a brief stint on the injured list.
However, he didn’t pitch through the sixth inning in any of those outings, and in his lone postseason start, he recorded just one out and allowed six earned runs.
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Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium April 29, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Fans were quick to point to Kershaw’s usual struggles in the postseason, but the three-time Cy Young Award winner announced Friday he underwent shoulder surgery.
The 2014 NL MVP said his capsule and glenohumeral ligaments were surgically repaired, and he is “hopeful” to return “at some point next summer.”
Kershaw’s stint on the IL was due to left shoulder soreness. He had elbow inflammation and forearm discomfort in 2021, and he has not made 30 starts since 2015.
Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Dodger Stadium May 16, 2023, in Los Angeles. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
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When he’s healthy, he’s one of the best. He earned his 10th All-Star nod this past season, and it was his 13th season with a sub-3.00 ERA.
Kershaw is the active leader in career ERA (2.48), and if he does return in the summer, he likely would become the 20th pitcher to record 3,000 strikeouts.
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, center, in the dugout during NLDS Game 2 against the San Diego Padres Oct. 12, 2022, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. (Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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Kershaw becomes a free agent after his one-year deal with Los Angeles expired.