For Kershaw, spring only first step toward ultimate goal

MVP and Cy Young Award winner is motivated after disappointing end to 2014

For Kershaw, spring only first step toward ultimate goal

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw, while accepting his National League MVP Award and NL Cy Young Award last month, thanked the St. Louis Cardinals for reminding him "you're never as good as you think you are."

As the face of the Dodgers, Kershaw echoed that message on Thursday, when pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training.

"I wanted everybody around me to know I'm not oblivious to the fact we didn't win the World Series," Kershaw said of his acceptance speech. "I wanted to make sure to get that message across."

Kershaw said the Dodgers have established -- through back-to-back NL West division titles -- that they can get to the postseason. While the World Series is the goal, Spring Training is just Step 1 in the process of getting there.

"For me, I can't make up for everything that didn't go well in October, and do that in April," he said. "We've got to do this first."

2014 NL MVP, Cy Young awards

Kershaw praised the quality of players management has brought in during the offseason, "especially up the middle" with catcher Yasmani Grandal and infielders Jimmy Rollins and Howie Kendrick. He also mentioned that "we lost a lot of good players," naming Matt Kemp and Hanley Ramirez.

Kershaw and wife Ellen welcomed their first child, Cali Ann, last month. Kershaw called fatherhood "a game changer."

"I feel like I'm a decent dad at this point," he said. "There's only so much I can do."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.