Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has done almost everything in his career. He’s won three Cy Young Awards and an MVP. He’s won a World Series. He’s started an All-Star Game. And five years after he hangs up his spikes, he’ll be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
One of the few things Kershaw hasn’t done is represent his country in international play. That will change in March, when Kershaw suits up for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Team USA manager Mark DeRosa was on LA radio recently, and he talked about the honor of having one of the greatest pitchers of all time on the team. He also talked about Kershaw’s big concern going into the tournament, which fits perfectly with what we know about Kersh as the ultimate competitor.
“I spoke to Clayton probably the most throughout the process. Just blown away that he decided to do it. Just kind of getting a feel for where he is on March 11, March 12, when he’s going to toe the slab and run out to that mound with that USA jersey on.
“So funny talking to him, because I haven’t been around him much, but he’s one of the greatest pitchers of all time and his concerns were, ‘Hey on March 11, March 12, this is where I’m at, I don’t want to tax the bullpen, I don’t want to put you in a position….’ And I was like, ‘Clayton, tax all of us. We just want you to be a part of this with us.’
“He’s right on schedule with where every other starting pitcher is at that point. I just think guys need to ramp it up obviously a little bit earlier in the offseason.”
Part of the reason everyone kind of expects Kershaw to retire young-ish is because he’s so competitive, the idea of pitching when he’s not at his best doesn’t seem like it’s in his personality. You can see that drive in the conversation with DeRosa — Kershaw only wants to be on the team if he can help them win.
Kersh posted a 2.28 ERA last year at age 34, so there’s still plenty left in the tank, and he can certainly help a team win. It’s exciting for him, for DeRosa, and for us as fans to watch Kershaw compete in the WBC.
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