Will Clayton Kershaw return to the Dodgers? Probably

Clayton Kershaw spent his final minutes in a Dodgers uniform in 2022 with a bottle of Pacifico in hand on Saturday night. While his teammates showered and changed to leave Petco Park, he stayed in his gray baseball pants and a Dodgers hoodie. He wore his cap backwards. He was in no hurry to leave after the Dodgers lost to the San Diego Padres at the end of the season.

Whether he’ll ever wear the uniform again is one of the many storylines that will define the Dodgers’ offseason. Late Saturday, it looks like Kershaw, a free agent this winter, will make a return.

“I think so,” said Kershaw, 34, when asked if he would be playing next season. “Let’s see what happens. Going home and being around and being a full-time dad changes your perspective on things, but from now on I’ll say I’ll play again.

Kershaw was less sure about his future a year ago. Last October he struggled with a serious elbow injury. He wasn’t sure how healthy he would be to play in 2022. Then there was the prospect of signing with his hometown Texas Rangers – a very real possibility that he considered.

Ultimately, Kershaw was told he was ready for the start of the season and chose to re-sign with the Dodgers. He officially signed a one-year contract worth $17 million plus incentives the day after lockdown ended in March.

He then went on to log seven perfect innings with 13 strikeouts in his season-opening start against the Minnesota Twins. He made his ninth All-Star Game, started for the National League at Dodger Stadium, and was one of the top pitchers in the majors when healthy.

However, two back injuries put him on the injured list twice for a month each, limiting him to 126 1/3 innings over 22 starts during the regular season. The second stint started in August and gave him enough to return in early September and prepare for the postseason.

He scored three runs and six hits over five innings in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Padres and was ready to hit 5 from the bullpen in a winner-take-all game Sunday at Dodger Stadium. But this game does not take place. The Dodgers’ season is over, another October ends in bitter disappointment. But Kershaw’s career in Los Angeles doesn’t seem like that.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-10-16/dodgers-clayton-kershaw Will Clayton Kershaw return to the Dodgers? Probably

Emma Bowman

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