WBC will never be the World Cup of baseball if paperwork bars stars from playing
Does the World Baseball Classic want to remain a glorified exhibition or does it want to be baseball’s equivalent of a World Cup?
The question is worth exploring in the aftermath of Clayton Kershaw announcing on Friday that he was withdrawing from the tournament.
Kershaw said he was 100% healthy.
He said he wanted to pitch.
He said the Dodgers supported him.
Kershaw wouldn’t elaborate on why he couldn’t play for Team USA, but people familiar with the situation said he failed to secure an insurance policy to protect the Dodgers in case of injury.
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw won’t take part in World Baseball Classic
PHOENIX — Clayton Kershaw will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after all.
The future Hall of Fame left-hander made the announcement Friday at Dodgers spring training, calling the development “super disappointing” after spending the last three months preparing for the event.
Although Kershaw declined to provide specific reasons for his inability to participate, people with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because they were unauthorized to speak publicly said the pitcher had a problem finalizing insurance coverage required for the event. His back-injury history was a significant factor, the people said.
“We tried a lot of different things, all sides, really tried to make it work,” Kershaw explained while standing in front of his locker at the team’s Camelback Ranch complex. “Nothing is wrong with me. It just didn’t work out. I really wanted to do it.”
Dave Roberts sees ‘uptick’ in Noah Syndergaard’s pitch velocity
Dave Roberts said the Dodgers saw an “uptick” in velocity from Noah Syndergaard during his bullpen session this week.
Roberts didn’t say exactly what he was at during his session with reporters on Friday morning, but said it’s ahead of where Syndergaard was at this point last spring.
Returning to the velocity he had before Tommy John surgery is a goal he spoke about after signing with the Dodgers in December.
Five Dodgers storylines to watch during spring training
Exactly four months removed from their calamitous elimination in last year’s postseason, the Dodgers will begin a new trek that they hope will end differently come this October.
Despite significant roster turnover, questions at several key positions and the likely influx of a younger core over the course of 2023, the Dodgers still enter this new season with World Series expectations.
Both Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs project the team to finish atop the National League West standings (the latter, albeit, in a tie with the San Diego Padres). Most oddsmakers give them the shortest odds of winning the NL pennant. And anything short of a championship is likely to feel like a failure for a franchise with just one World Series title from its 10-year-playoff streak.
Want to go to Dodgers’ Opening Day or the Yankees series? It will cost you
The Dodgers put tickets on sale Thursday for Opening Day, and for the series against the New York Yankees.
If you just want to get into the ballpark and you’re willing to sit in one of the cheap seats — well, depending on how you define cheap, none of the available seats might be considered cheap.
For Opening Day — March 30 against the Arizona Diamondbacks — tickets on sale on the team website Thursday morning ranged from $90 to $402.
For the Yankees series June 2-4, tickets ranged from $72 to $297 for Friday’s 7 p.m. game, $70 to $310 for Saturday’s 4 p.m. game, and $64 to $216 for Sunday’s 4 p.m. game.
Mookie Betts bulks up after offseason visit to Driveline training center
PHOENIX — Mookie Betts’ visit to Driveline this offseason wasn’t his own idea.
“My employer told me I need to go,” Betts said of his winter trip to the renowned baseball training center. “That’s how I ended up going there.”
By the end of it, however, he’d come away with one important takeaway.
“That I just need to gain some strength,” he said. “Continue to play the game I’ve been playing. Just get a little stronger.”
It might seem like simple advice, given Driveline’s track record of using advanced data and sports science to help players make fundamental changes to their game, and Betts’ productive but inconsistent play during the 2022 season.