Clayton Kershaw has learned to appreciate his routine as a baseball player while being stuck at home.
Clayton Kershaw is only 32-years-old, and signed through 2021. It wouldn’t seem like he is close to retiring, but you never know. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has accomplished pretty much everything there is to achieve as a starting pitcher, except winning a world championship. A devoted family man, maybe he decides to hang them up when his contract expires.
If you’re a Dodger fan worried about Kershaw wanting to retire soon, you probably shouldn’t. The left-hander said the MLB shutdown due to the coronavirus has taught him that he isn’t ready to be home everyday.
“I think just generally, I miss it,” Kershaw said on the Off Air with Joe and Orel podcast on Thursday. “It makes me realize that I’m not ready to just be home everyday. And I really want to play […] I also miss pitching. Like, I miss that mound, I miss competing, I miss throwing the ball and having a guy swing and miss, I miss all of that.”
Even though he wasn’t necessarily thinking about retiring anytime soon, Kershaw agreed with Orel Hershiser that the break has taught him how much he misses the game and wants to hold onto it as long as he can.
“[It’s] somewhat reassuring for me that I still have a lot left in the tank,” Kershaw said. “And I’m still mentally into it as I ever have been. Yeah, I just want to pitch.”
Kershaw has been one of the most outspoken players about MLB’s proposed plan to send all 30 teams to Arizona, or possibly a few other states, to live in quarantine while playing an abbreviated 2020 schedule. The father of three doesn’t want to leave his family behind for 4-5 months, a point he reiterated in his conversation with Joe and Orel.
While he is reluctant to be quarantined for a long period of time in order to play baseball, the southpaw acknowledged he might have to adjust for a short period given the unique circumstances. He said the biggest challenge might be finding his adrenaline on the mound without the normal roar of the crowd. It’s expected that if a 2020 season is played, it will be without fans in attendance.
The left-hander was ready to enter the new year in perhaps the best shape of his life. He attended the Driveline Baseball academy during the offseason. Manager Dave Roberts noticed the difference in Kershaw’s body movement early in Spring Training.
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Over 12 seasons with the Dodgers, Kershaw is 169-74 with a 2.44 ERA and 2,464 strikeouts, all numbers that place him near the top of the franchise’s all-time leaderboards. A shortened or canceled 2020 season obviously impacts his ability to chase important milestones, such as Don Sutton‘s record for all-time wins, or reaching 3000 career strikeouts. But there are more important things to worry about right now.