Three years ago today, on his 21st birthday, Clayton Kershaw hit a home run in a spring training game at Camelback Ranch. Today, he never got the chance to swing the bat, laying down sacrifice bunts in both of his plate appearances.
"I had to bunt, dadgummit," the Texas native joked after his outing.
On the mound, Kershaw allowed his first run of the spring, a first inning run that the Cleveland Indians used to grab the lead and never let go in a 4-3 win over the Dodgers on Monday in front of 3,101 in attendance at Goodyear Ballpark.
Kershaw allowed just the one run on three hits in his 5 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out five. Kershaw was on a pitch limit of 75-80 pitches (manager Don Mattingly said he erred this morning when mentioning a possible pitch limit of 85-90 pitches) and was removed after throwing 78 pitches.
"The first two or three innings, I was pretty erratic. I got in a little better rhythm toward the end there," Kershaw said. "I was missing with too many fastballs and getting behind too many hitters. I battled okay today, and felt good the last couple of innings."
Kershaw laughed when asked if he felt old at 24, and noted, "I'm still the young guy on the staff experience wise." His catcher today, Matt Treanor, agreed.
"I don't think I've ever caught anyone like him. You would think he has been around for a long time," said Treanor. "The biggest part is his mental approach to the game. He wasn't going to let that first inning get to him."
Kershaw said he felt good throwing his changeup on Monday, though he threw it only three or four times by his recollection. One changeup induced a tap out to catcher by Jason Donald and as for the others Kershaw said, "When I missed, I missed down."
Kershaw will have two starts remaining in the Cactus League before making his second consecutive opening day start on April 5 in San Diego. When asked if there was anything else Kershaw needed to do to prepare for his opening day start, Mattingly smiled.
"Kersh is one of the last guys I worry about. It's just a matter of him getting in his work," Mattingly said. "There's nothing really he has to show us. He's sharp."
Opening day is just 17 days away.
Captain Jorge To Join Manny Mota
The Dodgers announced their Spanish language broadcast schedule for 2012, which includes 50 games broadcast on Prime Ticket, beginning with the April 11 home game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jorge Jarrin, son of Dodgers Hall of Fame Spanish language radio broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, is new to the Spanish language broadcast team this year, joining Manny Mota on the telecasts. Jorge Jarrin covered traffic for KABC 790 as "Captain Jorge" from 1985 to 2011.
- Andre Ethier continued his hot hitting with a triple in the fourth inning, though he was aided by left fielder Russ Canzler's unsuccessful pursuit of the ball. Ethier has 10 hits in 22 at-bats this spring, with six doubles, two triples, and a home run.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. made two more throwing errors at shortstop on Monday, and has four errors in 13 innings at the position in Cactus League play. "It's something that we'll pay attention to," said Mattingly, who also noted that Hairston has been improving his footwork at the position of late in drills. "Jerry doesn't really scare me. He's one of those guys that knows where he's at, getting himself ready to play," Mattingly said.
- Jake Lemmerman suited up from the minor league side for the Dodgers and in his only plate appearance grounded out to old friend Chin-Lung Hu in the ninth inning. Lemmerman played the final two innings at shortstop in his 2012 Cactus League debut.
- Javy Guerra and Scott Elbert, who both pitched Monday, are scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Tuesday for their first back-to-back efforts of the spring.
The Dodgers return to Camelback Ranch on Tuesday to host National League MVP Award winner Ryan Braun and the Milwaukee Brewers. Chad Billingsley starts for the Dodgers, his fourth Cactus League start of the spring, facing Chris Narveson for Milwaukee.
Home runs: Carlos Santana (2)
WP - Jeanmar Gomez (1-0): 4 IP, 1 hit, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
LP - Clayton Kershaw (2-1): 5 1/3 IP, 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts
Sv - Chris Seddon (1): 1 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 strikeout