Clayton Kershaw took the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers for the first time in Spring Training yesterday. The boys in blue faced off against the crosstown rival Angels and fans were excited to watch Kershaw preview what he has cooking for his 16th season with the franchise.
Unfortunately, the southpaw veteran’s struggles were clear in his spring debut.
Some may view it as Kershaw merely shaking off rust from the offseason or getting comfortable with the pitch clock, which he has addressed he’ll have to figure out, but it is not a sign to panic just yet. Spring Training is meant to get one’s groove back and his 58 pitches over the three innings he suited up fell in line with the plan that Dave Roberts had for him yesterday.
The 34-year-old joined Sportsnet LA following the conclusion of the exhibition and expressed optimism despite his statistics not being the best.
“It was good to get back out there again. Everything feels good physically,” said Kershaw. “Obviously, got some stuff to work on, but overall it was a good first step. Just make some improvements and get back out there.”
More than other seasons, Kershaw’s leadership and experience will play a key role in the team’s success this year. Losing some big pieces over the offseason has led to the Dodgers looking to more of their young talent to fill out the roster. Nobody knows LA’s clubhouse culture better than Kershaw, who has solely played for them in his career, and he has to keep the group focused on their end goals.
It is a good sign to see the nine-time All-Star unfazed by a slow start in Spring Training. He has experienced this numerous times and knows he just needs to bounce back in the next set of games.
Kershaw was also realistic and shared that despite his talent and knowledge, there is always room to improve.
“Well, I mean, you’d like to have everything working so you can just focus on getting hitters out,” said Kershaw. “But ultimately, there’s usually something you can get better at and that’s no different for me now.”
Have you signed up for the Dodgers Nation newsletter yet? Get the latest news, rumors, highlights and more right in your inbox every day! Keep up to date on every single thing involving your boys in blue!