Clayton Kershaw pitched six innings on Sunday, the longest outing by any Dodgers hurler this spring, but suffered the loss as he allowed two runs in the Dodgers' 7-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Mayrvale Park in Phoenix.
"I threw okay. It was kind of a battle. Everything else felt pretty good, but my slider is not where it needs to be," Kershaw said. "That last inning, I'm glad I got to go back out there because I threw a few good ones."
Kershaw said he left his slider up too often in the game, but was pleased with the progression of his changeup, a pitch that he has struggled to develop for most of his career. Might Kershaw have a true fourth pitch to go with his fastball, curve, and slider?
"It will be there when I need it," Kershaw said of his changeup. "I feel a lot better with it than I did at the beginning of spring and last season."
Kershaw will get five days of rest before his final spring start, next Saturday at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick against the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he will have a scheduled light outing, similar to his 39-pitch effort over 3 1/3 innings in his final spring start last season.
Kershaw this spring has allowed three runs on 13 hits in 18 1/3 innings, with seven walks and 13 strikeouts.
"Physically this is the best I have felt. I feel great, and am getting ready to go," said Kershaw, who will start for the Dodgers on opening day April 5 at Petco Park against the San Diego Padres.
- Dodgers second baseman Adam Kennedy slipped on second base while recording a force out in the second inning, and suffered a slight right groin pull. Kennedy didn't notify trainers until the fourth inning, after he stole a base. Kennedy was removed from the game as a precaution and is day-to-day.
- Manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt haven't made a decision on whether or not Ted Lilly would make his scheduled start Tuesday, but if Lilly continues to have neck problems and cannot pitch one person who won't pitch Tuesday is Nathan Eovaldi, who pitched three innings Friday in Tucson. If Lilly is unable to pitch Tuesday, the Dodgers will most likely send a mix of relievers and minor league pitchers to the mound in Peoria to face the Padres.
- Kenley Jansen (three), Mike MacDougal (three), and Todd Coffey (two) combined for eight strikeouts in three innings while pitching in a minor league game against Kansas City Royals Class A hitters at Camelback Ranch on Monday. It was the first back-to-back outing of the spring for all three pitchers.
- Mattingly said that James Loney and Tony Gwynn Jr. might play in a minor league game on Monday to get more live at-bats. The Dodgers host Double A and Triple A teams from the Cincinnati Reds tomorrow at Camelback Ranch.
Matt Guerrier is scheduled to pitch in a minor league game on Monday as well.
- Mattingly said there likely won't be any roster moves anytime soon regarding position players on the 40-man roster. For players like Matt Angle or Jerry Sands, there are still enough at-bats for them in major league games and if needed they can play one day in a minor league game to get more reps if needed.
The Dodgers return home on Monday to face the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch, in a designated home game for the Dodgers. Chad Billingsley makes his fifth Cactus League start for the Dodgers, and his third against the White Sox, while John Danks starts for Chicago.
Home Runs: Norichika Aoki (1)
WP - John Axford (1-0); 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run, 2 walks
LP - Clayton Kershaw (2-2): 6 IP, 6 hits, 2 runs, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts