Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw forced off World Baseball Classic roster for odd reason

Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two
Division Series - San Diego Padres v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Two / Harry How/GettyImages

For months, Los Angeles Dodgers fans have fretted about left-hander Clayton Kershaw putting extra mileage on his body prior to the 2023 season by participating in the World Baseball Classic.

After all, who are the Dodgers to tell their long-tenured pitcher to tamp down his national pride and stay in camp in order to remain fresh down the stretch run? This was a no-win situation for Dave Roberts and Co., who certainly risked an early-season injury by letting Kershaw compete, but had no interest in turning their lefty sour, either.

Unfortunately for Kershaw, the situation resolved itself this week for reasons beyond anyone's control.

Kershaw announced at Dodgers camp on Friday that he had been taken off the World Baseball Classic roster, and declined to elaborate on the "disappointing" reason why. Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, after a bit of digging, reported that Kershaw had an issue with getting insurance coverage for the event, due in large part to his recurring back issues.

Why isn't Clayton Kershaw in the World Baseball Classic?

Kershaw becomes the second Team USA pitcher to withdraw from the event -- or, rather, he might be the first to have been forcibly removed from the roster by an insurance company. Nestor Cortes of the Yankees will also be staying home, nursing a Grade 2 hamstring strain.

Kershaw delivered 126.1 regular-season innings for last season's Dodgers, adding five in a single NLDS start against the Padres. The soon-to-be 35-year-old battled back ailments and missed time late in the season, following an IL stint to deal with SI joint inflammation in May.

The May trip to the Injured List came weeks after the Dodgers faced scrutiny for pulling Kershaw midway through a perfect game in Minnesota to save his arm from the frigid Minneapolis weather. While we'll never know the ripple effects of that particular decision, the fact remains he was hurt weeks later regardless.

Unfortunately for Kershaw, this time the call for an abrupt halt came from forces beyond the Dodgers' control.

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