While the bulk of the Dodgers traveled overnight to Australia - the team landed in Sydney just before 4 p.m. PT - an important group stayed behind in Arizona. The trio of Matt Kemp, Zack Greinke and Carl Crawford all played in a minor league game against Padres Class-A players on Monday at Camelback Ranch.
Greinke pitched four scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. He threw 42 pitches, including 32 strikes. He threw two innings last Wednesday against the Diamondbacks in the Cactus League in his first outing since straining his right calf on Feb. 27.
Manager Don Mattingly said on Sunday that both Greinke and Dan Haren would continue to get work in minor league games but neither are expected to open the season on the disabled list. Both are expected to be named as exempt players along with reliever Brandon League when the Dodgers submit their Opening Day 28-man roster on Friday night at 7 p.m. PT.
Greinke if he stays on four days rest every time out will be in line to start in the Freeway Series opener against the Angels on March 27 and potentially the second game of the series against the Padres, on April 1.
Kemp was 0-for-3 with a walk and played four innings in center field, his longest time in the field to date in spring training. Mattingly on Sunday noted the importance of these two works of minor league games for Kemp.
"It's kind of the start of spring training for him, getting his at-bats, playing in games," Mattingly said. "He'll build up his innings, and anything that could happen during a game he'll have to deal with. It could be a slide, it could be making a play in the field."
Kemp is expected to start the season on the disabled list, which would make him ineligible to play in any Freeway Series games since even though they are exhibition contests are still considered major league games. A timetable for Kemp's return hasn't yet been set, but a start on the DL means the absolute earliest he could be activated is for the Dodgers home opener on April 4.
Crawford played five innings and went 1-for-3 with a stolen base. He is essentially on standby, waiting for the birth of his baby. He will be on paternity leave and miss the opening two games in Australia.
Something to watch this week in Dodgers minor league games is when Haren and Josh Beckett might pitch next. Haren last week said he was tired and might be going through a dead-arm period, while Beckett left his Friday start with a right thumb contusion. Beckett is expected to open the season on the disabled list.
The Dodgers Double-A and Triple-A teams play Mariners farmhands on Tuesday at Camelback Ranch.