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    Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw ‘not sure’ about his baseball future
    • October 12, 2023

    PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw might have pitched the last game of his Hall of Fame career. Or he could be back for a 17th big-league season next spring.

    Kershaw said even he doesn’t know which it will be.

    “I’m not sure,” he said repeatedly when he was asked about his future following the Dodgers’ shocking elimination from the postseason Wednesday night.

    If Kershaw opts for retirement, he will go out on the worst start of his career. He faced eight batters in Game 1 and recorded just one out.

    “Just obviously a horrible way to end it personally,” he said. “But that’s ultimately not important. It’s just how I didn’t help the team win the series. That’s the most disappointing part. Letting your guys down and things like that. Process it however best you can. I don’t even know what that means, really. But, yeah, just go from there.”

    Kershaw has gone through this process for three years now, opting to sign one-year contracts following the 2021 and 2022 seasons.

    The decision was a quick one last fall. He let the Dodgers know in early November that he wanted to return, though a one-year, $20 million contract wasn’t officially finalized until the first week of December.

    Things were more complicated in 2021. Kershaw ended the season on the sidelines with a forearm injury that caused him to miss the postseason. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection in October to treat the injury. The MLB lockout allowed him to delay starting a throwing program until January, giving him added time to recover – and contemplate his future.

    Within days of the lockout being settled, he re-signed with the Dodgers after also considering signing with his hometown Texas Rangers.

    This winter figures to mirror the uncertainty of that offseason, with Kershaw’s shoulder now the issue.

    “I’m not sure about that either,” Kershaw said when asked how he will approach this offseason. “I’m not sure how it’s going to look.”

    Kershaw left his June 27 start in Colorado after six innings despite having a one-hit shutout going on just 79 pitches. He later acknowledged he was experiencing shoulder discomfort and eventually went on the injured list.

    Right before the All-Star break, he underwent an MRI. Kershaw has never discussed the results of the MRI, but Dr. Neal ElAttrache saw enough that Kershaw wound up spending six weeks on the IL.

    When he returned, it was as a clearly compromised pitcher. Kershaw’s fastball velocity plummeted to an average of only 88.7 mph in September. His command suffered as well. The Dodgers gave him extra rest between starts – as much as nine days – and limited his pitch count.

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    “We’ll see,” he said of his offseason plans. “I’m not sure. I don’t know how to answer that right now.”

    Another examination of his shoulder – perhaps by a doctor not associated with the team – is likely Kershaw’s next step. If surgery of some kind is recommended, it is difficult to imagine the 35-year-old Kershaw choosing to go through the long rehabilitation and recovery process it would require to return, perhaps not until 2025.

    Asked Wednesday night if there was a decision he needed to make about his shoulder before he could make a decision about retirement, Kershaw repeated, “I’m not sure.” When told that was a confusing answer, he smiled softly and said, “Good,” continuing to keep the details of his health private.

    ​ Orange County Register