Clayton Kershaw’s 2021 season ended abruptly and with great uncertainty. When he walked off the mound with an elbow injury on October 1, there was a very real possibility it would be his last time on the field in a Dodger uniform. He was in the last year of his contract, his health was suddenly a huge question mark, and his hometown Rangers were likely to pursue him in the offseason.
Some Dodger fans might have been a bit overdramatic about it.
Luckily, Kershaw healed up well and shot down the Rangers, re-signing with Los Angeles shortly after the lockout ended in early March.
After missing the postseason last year and then enduring two separate injured stint lists this season, Kershaw is once again healthy and productive, pitching six strong innings on Wednesday in a Dodgers win over the Giants.
While Kershaw was careful with his words when it came to guaranteeing his health, it’s clear that his goal of winning another World Series is why he made the decision to stay in his adopted home of Los Angeles instead of returning to his other home in Texas, as Juan Toribio writes on MLB.com.
“I just want to pitch good leading into October,” Kershaw said. “You want to be a part of it. That’s why I came back. That’s why everybody wants to be on this team. It’s a special group and we got a chance to do something special. … I’m excited and hope to get that chance this year.”
The Dodgers are 94-42 and about to clinch their ninth NL West title in ten years, while the Rangers are 59-77 and have fired manager Chris Woodward and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels. At this stage in Kershaw’s career, the only thing that really matters to him is the opportunity to “do something special” again in October.
Being a key part of the best team in baseball is a pretty good situation to be in with that goal, so it’s no wonder Kershaw is happy to still be in Dodger Blue.
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