Dodgers may not start Clayton Kershaw in Sydney

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws at spring training.
(Raul Sancya / Associated Press)
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And in today’s edition of how the Dodgers can really tick off Australia, it appears they are seriously considering not starting star left-hander Clayton Kershaw in their two games to open the season in Sydney.

Manager Don Mattingly has gone from intimating on the first day of camp that Kershaw and Zack Greinke would pitch in the two-game series to doing his best Mr. Bojangles every time the topic is brought up.

“Everything’s a possibility,” Mattingly said Monday.

The concern is the workload on Kershaw, their new $215-million investment. Last season Kershaw pitched a career-high 236 1/3 innings in the regular season and 259 1/3 innings overall by end of the postseason. He’s pitched more than 200 innings in four consecutive seasons.


The Giants’ Matt Cain threw 200 or more innings in six consecutive seasons and 249 total innings in 2012. After going 16-5 with a 2.79 ERA in 2012, he went 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA last season.

So you can understand the Dodgers’ logic in wanting to be cautious with their two-time Cy Young winner.

Mattingly said everyone but Josh Beckett (overcoming rib removal) is in consideration to start in Australia, even including Matt Magill, who is like their No. 8 starter.

They were less than thrilled Down Under to learn of Greinke’s frank comments about his being less than thrilled with having such an awkward start to the season, so it’s unlikely the Dodgers would receive any Aussie love letters should Kershaw be held back.

Now a potentially diplomatic way out of this is for Kershaw to come up with a minor injury before the trip.

“That’s a negative question,” Mattingly said. “I’ll choose not to answer that question.”

The Dodgers need to do what’s best here for the Dodgers and not succumb to any pressure from Australia, Major League Baseball, or for that matter, their own front office. If they believe it’s better for them and Kershaw that he be held out of the Australia trip, then that’s how it should go down.