Hours before he flew to the East Coast, Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw played catch to start his off-season throwing program. After sitting out six weeks in 2016 because of a herniated disk, Kershaw maintained his optimism about completing a winter in good health.
“It didn’t hurt today,” Kershaw said Monday at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings. “So that was good.”
Kershaw took a week off after the season ended. Then he resumed his physical activity, looking forward to avoiding the back issue that hampered him. He stressed that he felt the injury would not affect his off-season planning.
During the rehabilitation process, Kershaw altered his routine to reduce strain and improve his functionality. That philosophy will carry into the winter, he said. He is not expected to require surgery.
“I had an injury,” Kershaw said. “It’s not injured any more. So now you keep going.”
The World Baseball Classic runs in the spring. Kershaw has spoken with his former manager, Joe Torre, about the prospect of playing for the United States. Kershaw indicated he had not given the matter enough thought to reveal his preference.
“Even though I am 100% healthy, I don’t want to put the team in a bad spot,” Kershaw said. “I haven’t talked to anyone about it, to be honest. I don’t know.”
He added: “You want to weigh everything as equally as you can. Being a part of that team is a huge honor. You don’t take that lightly. But being a part of the Dodger team, and being healthy for a full season, is something I take a lot of pride in. I feel like I owe it to the team to do that.”