Clayton Kershaw will pitch for Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, Major League Baseball announced on Monday, making him the latest in a long line of high-profile stars to represent the United States.
With Mike Trout serving as its captain, Team USA has also recruited the likes of J.T. Realmuto, Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado, Trea Turner, Tim Anderson and Kyle Schwarber, along with two of Kershaw’s teammates on the Los Angeles Dodgers, Will Smith and Mookie Betts. Kershaw will join a pitching staff that currently includes Merrill Kelly, Nestor Cortes, Adam Wainwright, Logan Webb, Ryan Pressly and Devin Williams, among others.
The World Baseball Classic, pinning 20 different countries against one another in a bracket-style tournament, runs from March 8 to 21, culminating in the championship game from loanDepot Park in Miami. Team USA is slotted in Pool C alongside Mexico, Colombia, Canada and Great Britain, with first-round games taking place from March 11-15 from Phoenix.
Kershaw is a nine-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, MVP and World Series champion, but he had never participated in the WBC. The 34-year-old left-hander expressed a willingness to do so upon re-signing with the Dodgers on a one-year, $20 million contract in early December, noting that he finished the 2022 season healthy and would thus navigate a normal offseason.
Kershaw, who turns 35 in March, has been on the injured list at least once in each of his last seven seasons but has remained one of the major leagues’ most effective pitchers. His 2.56 ERA from 2016-2022 trails only that of Jacob deGrom (2.50) among those who compiled at least 900 innings during that stretch; his 0.95 WHIP (second) and 6.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio (first) are also near the top.
Team USA claimed the championship in the fourth installment of the WBC in 2017. This year’s event looks primed to be arguably the most decorated of them all, with the likes of Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, Manny Machado, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Sandy Alcantara, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Francisco Lindor among those expected to take part.
Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw to pitch in World Baseball Classic