For the Dodgers, starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw has been the anchor of the rotation and arguably the entire organization for the last decade.
While his regular season dominance as an ace is undeniable, Kershaw could find himself in perhaps the most peculiar role of his entire career. Manager Dave Roberts revealed that the team is not totally averse to utilizing their future Hall of Famer out of the bullpen upon his return off of the 60-day Injured List.
Kershaw, who has been on the IL since being shut down prior to the All-Star break as a result of forearm/elbow area soreness, will not be eligible to return until early September, giving the Dodgers’ skipper more validation that his veteran southpaw’s time to return to his old workload will be diminished.
“I think that will kind of be contingent on where the ramp up goes,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to say ‘No.’ That’s the goal. But if it comes to be a two-, three-inning monster out of the ‘pen, then that’s what it will be.”
Kershaw did not travel with the team in their three game series against the Philadelphia Phillies but could possibly begin his throwing program as early as next week.
“Our encouragement was to get home. There’s nothing he was going to do now. Spend time with family, recharge.”
In the event that the Dodgers decide to use the veteran starter out of the bullpen, it will be just one time out of a handful that he’s been asked to do so during his Hall of Fame career. The 33-year-old has pitched in relief just 3 times in his regular season career and 7 times in the postseason.
Kershaw currently owns a 9-7 record with an ERA of 3.39 and 127 strikeouts in 18 starts this season.