It’s almost a foregone conclusion that when Dodgers spring training camp in Glendale Arizona open that at least one or two guys will get hurt, be sore, or not report on time. Baseball imitates life. It’s the chaos theory proven at Camelback Ranch. Murphy’s law my friends. So when reports surfaced that Clayton Kershaw was having some arm issues, I wasn’t the last surprised.
Now those issues have turned into honest to goodness shoulder soreness. That’s where the problem is reported, in his pitching shoulder. Apparently Kershaw was trying to regain his lost velocity this past offseason by using some kind of biometrics. Maybe he had some increased workouts and pitching programs as well. Justin Verlander has used biometrics and it worked for him. You would think that Kershaw of all people would be fine.
The description of Kershaw’s injury is rather vague. The Dodgers management is like that with injuries. Unless you are David Vassegh or work within the Dodgers front office, then you may never know the truth surrounding a Dodgers injury. They’ll play this close to the vest. Kershaw originally reported just not feeling right after his first bullpen sessions. Some pitchers are feel pitchers. If they don’t feel right when they throw or make a certain pitch then they won’t be effective. From there is evolved into general soreness in the shoulder. We don’t know a whole lot right now.
This should be expected though. Let’s be honest here. We all love Kershaw but this is his twelfth season with the Dodgers. He’s had over a decade of pitching on his shoulder/arm/back and eight postseason trips including two World Series appearances.
Kershaw was one of the biggest workhorses in the game for years. Kershaw has had five years of over 200+ innings pitched. But injuries and age have limited him to just 149 innings in 2016, 175 frames in 2017 and only 161.1 innings in 2018. Father time catches up with everyone, including Kershaw.
What I am saying is, don’t panic about Kershaw’s injury. However don’t expect him to be the ace of the staff anymore. He’s still the leader in the clubhouse, on the field and the face of the franchise. But as far as being an ace, well those days are probably behind him.
I’m just saying that don’t expect Kershaw to toss 200 innings anymore. If we can get 150 innings out of him then that’s good. Kershaw is still a really great pitcher, but let’s temper our expectations a big. Projections have him tallying 160 innings this season. The Dodgers are going to have to rely heavily on Walker Buehler to be the ace of the staff when Kershaw is hurt or sore.
The good thing here is that there are no MRIs scheduled. That’s when you know the injury is serious. I think it’s just general soreness. We don’t know exactly what Kershaw was doing or not doing in the offseason. I think it’s time to face the truth. Kershaw is not a kid anymore and he’s entering the latter portion of his career. If anyone can age gracefully, it’s Kershaw. Let’s just hope the Dodgers can keep him out of the old folks home long enough to win a World Series.