Clayton Kershaw still uncertain of Dodgers return

League: MLB

Posted on: 14 Dec, 2023 at 08:55 PM

Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Dodgers great Clayton Kershaw said he's feeling "really well" as he recovers from surgery on his left pitching shoulder and wants to return in 2024. The question remains whether that will be in Los Angeles.

Kershaw, a three-time National League Cy Young Award winner, has been a free agent each of the past two winters, signing one-year deals to stay in Los Angeles. At 35, he's a free agent again and likely won't be ready to pitch until well into next season.

In a radio interview Wednesday with AM 570 L.A. Sports, Kershaw said he and his wife, Ellen, are "in that process" of figuring out where he should play.

He is yearning to pitch, especially without pain.

Well-known surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed the surgery on Kershaw's shoulder in November, following Kershaw's disastrous outing in Game 1 of the National League Division Series, when he allowed the Arizona Diamondbacks to score six runs and recorded just one out.

"The competitor in me doesn't want it to end the way it did. I want to win. I want to win another World Series," said Kershaw, a member of the Dodgers' 2020 world championship team. "I'm excited to get back after this surgery, to throw a ball and have it not hurt. I'm excited for that."

Kershaw posted a 13-5 record with a 2.46 ERA in 24 starts this past season, but he dealt with diminished velocity after returning from midseason shoulder discomfort.

Kershaw owns a 210-92 record with a 2.48 ERA in 425 career appearances (422 starts) with the Dodgers.

Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' president of baseball operations, has said he wants to bring Kershaw back. Whether Kershaw chooses the Dodgers or a team closer to his offseason home in Texas -- he's long been rumored to have interest in the Rangers -- is up in the air.

If he does return to Los Angeles, he'd have a front row seat to watch two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani, whom the Dodgers signed Saturday to a record 10-year, $700 milion contract.

"It's just so much money, isn't it?" Kershaw said during the radio interview. "This is crazy. But I think he is a unique, unique talent. I don't think there's anybody like him, and once he starts pitching again, everybody wants to watch it. You know, I want to watch it."

--Field Level Media