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Clayton Kershaw 'hopeful' to return next summer after undergoing shoulder surgery

The 36-year-old Kershaw is currently an unrestricted free agent. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
The 36-year-old Kershaw is currently an unrestricted free agent. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) (Norm Hall via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw underwent shoulder surgery Friday and hopes to return to the mound next summer.

Kershaw made the announcement on Instagram, where he revealed that he had the gleno-humeral ligaments and capsule of his left shoulder repaired.

"This morning I underwent a surgical procedure to repair the gleno-humeral ligaments and capsule of my left shoulder. I am thankful for the expertise of Dr. ElAttrache who performed the surgery. I am hopeful to return to play at some point next summer. Thanks for your prayers!"

Kershaw, 35, is currently an unrestricted free agent and has battled numerous injuries in recent years. The shoulder injury caused him to miss six weeks in 2023.

After returning from the injured list in August, Kershaw made nine starts the rest of the regular season and did not pitch more than 5 1/3 innings in any of them. His only postseason appearance saw him give up six runs and record only one out in the first inning of the Dodgers' NL Division Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Despite the injury to his throwing shoulder, Kershaw turned in a strong regular season this year. Over 24 starts, he posted a 2.46 ERA and struck out 137 batters in 131 2/3 innings. That performance earned him another trip to the All-Star Game.

When asked about Kershaw's future with the franchise, Andrew Friedman, Dodgers president of baseball operations, said the team "absolutely" would welcome the veteran pitcher back.

“The ball is squarely in [the Kershaw family's] court,” Friedman said.

Kershaw has had at least two opportunities to leave the Dodgers in recent years but has opted to stick around. He signed a three-year, $93 million extension with the club in 2018 that extended his contract through the 2022 MLB season. Following the 2022 season, Kershaw signed a one-year deal to return to the Dodgers. It appears that he'll have the opportunity to do the same this winter.

Kershaw has spent his entire 16-year career in Los Angeles. He debuted with the club in 2008 and is one of the most accomplished pitchers of his era. Kershaw has won an MVP award and three Cy Young awards, and he has made 10 All-Star teams since reaching the majors. He helped lead the Dodgers to a World Series title in 2020 and is almost certain to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

While some wondered whether Kershaw would retire following the 2022 season, that doesn't appear to be a consideration this time around, as Kershaw made it clear he intends to return to the mound in 2024.

There's a very good chance he'll still be in a Dodgers uniform when that time comes.