Clayton Kershaw earned a major victory before he pitched eight masterful innings in a 5-1 win over the San Francisco Giants in the Dodgers' season finale Wednesday.
Trainer Sue Falsone announced Kershaw wouldn't have to undergo surgery to repair his right hip.
This month, Kershaw delayed one start and missed another because of pain in that hip.
"He should have a regular off-season," Falsone said.
Kershaw declined to talk about his hip, other than to say he hadn't been told by the medical staff that surgery was unnecessary. If Kershaw needed an operation, he could have missed the first month of the 2013 season, according to people familiar with his condition.
Falsone acknowledged an MRI exam Kershaw underwent this month revealed damage to the hip.
"There are plenty of guys walking around with shoulders that, if you did an MRI, would be messed up," Falsone said. "The MRI, you're always going to find something. You have to decide if that MRI correlates with the symptoms.
"You always have to remember to treat the person. The MRI gives us information. We don't treat off of it. He's feeling really good. All the muscles have calmed down. The inflammation's gone down. The injection worked. The therapy has worked. Things are going really well."
A hip surgeon Kershaw visited in New York assured him he wouldn't do any additional damage by pitching.
Kershaw strengthened his campaign to win his second consecutive Cy Young Award by limiting the Giants to a run and three hits.
He lowered his earned-run average to 2.53, best in the NL. He also led the league in walks and hits per innings pitched at 1.023.
Kershaw stuck out eight Wednesday to finish the season with 228. He finished only one behind NL leader R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets.
Kershaw also drove in the Dodgers' first run on a fifth-inning single to right-center that tied the game, 1-1.
"That kept me above .200 for the year, so it was a big hit," said a smiling Kershaw, who finished the season with a .207 average.
The Dodgers went ahead, 2-1, in the sixth inning when Adrian Gonzalez drove in Andre Ethier with a single to left-center. The Dodgers finished the season by winning seven of their last eight games.
Gonzalez finished the season with a 15-game hitting streak, the longest by any Dodger this season. … Alex Castellanos hit the first home run of his career, a solo shot in the eighth inning off Jean Machi. … The Dodgers finished the season with a cumulative home attendance of 3,324,246, an average of 41,040 per game. The team drew 2,934,808 fans to Dodger Stadium last season.