Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Talks About Clayton Kershaw Game Plan This Spring
Last year, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw came into spring training a little behind schedule. He’d suffered a severe arm injury at the end of the 2021 regular season, so his offseason routine got pushed back by a month or more, and then the lockout and his contract situation added some uncertainty, so the end result was a shortened spring when Kersh definitely could have used a full camp or even more.
This year, things are looking much different. Kershaw had a full, healthy offseason — in fact, it was about three weeks longer than he had been hoping or expecting because of LA’s early exit from the postseason. There was no labor stoppage or lingering uncertainty about his contract situation. And because of his planned participation in the World Baseball Classic, he actually came into Camelback Ranch last week a little ahead of where he would have been in a normal spring and significantly ahead of where he was last year.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts talked to the media on Wednesday about how Kershaw looks and feels this spring.
“Obviously, with the initial expectation to pitch for Team USA, there was an earlier ramp-up and he came into camp feeling good. So I think that having a healthy offseason and where he was at, he’s in a really good spot. Looks great, physically, mentally, and definitely different from last year.”
Now that he won’t be pitching in the WBC after all, the task for Kershaw, Roberts, and pitching coach Mark Prior is to figure out how to get him on a regular spring ramp-up. And as Roberts told the media on Wednesday, that will likely actually mean slowing things down a little bit for the future Hall of Fame lefty.
“The thought was, we were ramping him up because he was going to be the WBC. That’s off the table now. So, now to take a little step back, I think that’s sort of the thought we’re at right now. He’s going to throw to hitters, but I just don’t know when that’s going to be.”
We’re used to Kershaw taking “a little step back” in spring, but it has often been because of a nagging injury or fatigue or some other negative element. This might be the first time we’ve seen him take a step back in spring training because he is, essentially, too healthy.
It would be great if this were a sign of Kershaw’s first full, healthy season since 2015, but we’ll try not to get our hopes up too high on that.
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