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Dodgers Open to Clayton Kershaw in a Bullpen Role if Need Be

Clayton Kershaw is running out of time to build up for the starting rotation.



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. 

Bill Plunkett of the OC Register reports.

“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.

PODCAST: The Revolving Door of Relievers, Kershaw’s Scare, a Test in Philly & More

Written by Tairiq Marshall

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  1. Terrible idea because Clayton is … well … terrible out of the pen. He has been vulnerable in the first inning of games for the past 2 years and we still the 2019 NLDS.

  2. Giving up too many random home runs in recent years to be a good bullpen choice. Plus, he has has had a bit of trouble “finding himself” in the early innings the last four or five years or so. Not a good thing for a reliever.

    • I dont buy that Kershaw is hurt and wont be back until September? I believe his pride and ego is damaged with the acquisition of Max Scherzer as he has been the heart n soul of the dodgers long before Dave Roberts and his crack head brand of baseball arrived… besides, is not Kershaw a free agent in 2022. ?

      • That comment makes no sense! He was already hurt before they acquired Scherzer! To think he’s purposely sitting out because his ego is hurt is just plain stupid!

  3. I still think there’s more to this forearm soreness than Dodgers know or are unwilling to talk about. Maybe further exams are necessary. I’ve never seen such a broken down roster as this year’s is before.

  4. We have all seen Kershaw out of the bullpen in past post seasons. The results have been horrendous. One of the reasons that he had his best postseason ever last year was because he didn’t make any relief appearances. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Keep Kershaw out of the bullpen.

    • Exactly. No reason he should be considered for the BP come October. I mean past year’s results speak for themselves. Of course in 2020 he didn’t have to relieve and that result also speaks for itself.

  5. Is it even possible Delusional Dave is envisioning kersh as this years Julio in the post season as to not suffer a stroke running Kenley the widow maker out there?

  6. Clayton’s bullpen appearances have been less than successful. If his arm isn’t ready for starting games , can’t imagine why he could pitch well coming out of the pen.

    • What are you talking about? He may not have the arm strength and not enough time to build up to pitch 6 or 7 innings that’s why they are thinking of using him as a 2 to 3 innings reliever

  7. we really need Kersh starting to win the West and catch the gnats. without him and 22 games in 23 days now, the 4 starters and pen+ call-ups will be gassed. Bad timing – way worse than Mookie going out as Trea fills leadoff role perfectly!

    • CK is on target to return sometime in September and we can only hope he could return to starting. But Dodgers also must be prepared if CK just isn’t ready to return by thattime as well.

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