Clayton Kershaw, who is scheduled to start the home opener on April 13, wrapped up his Cactus League with a solid performance today, as the Dodgers beat the Reds, 2-1 in Goodyear. Kershaw went six innings, allowing just one run on six hits, walking one while striking out seven. In 16 spring innings (not counting the five innings thrown in a minor league game on March 17), Kershaw has a 1.69 ERA with seven walks and 17 strikeouts. Kershaw will likely pitch Friday in Anaheim against the Angels, putting him on track to start the second game of the season on regular rest, on April 7 in Pittsburgh.
Ramon Ortiz, Ramon Troncoso, and Luis Ayala combined to retire the final nine batters on the game, completing the Dodger win. Ortiz had two strikeouts in his inning of work, and now has 21 strikeouts in 15.2 spring innings. On the KABC postgame show with Josh Suchon, Ortiz said he felt good working both sides of the plate, crediting his time working with a much smaller strike zone in Japan. Ortiz also said former Dodger Ramon Martinez was his pitching coach in the Dominican Republic this winter, calling him "a very good teacher." Ortiz, who was pitching in the second of back-to-back games today, seems more and more like a lock for an opening day roster spot, likely out of the bullpen.
Russell Martin caught seven innings in a minor league game against Cleveland, and his comeback plans have now been accelerated. Martin will catch Hiroki Kuroda in a minor league game Monday afternoon at Camelback Ranch, then join the big league club in Tucson on Tuesday against the Rockies. It's hard to blame Martin for wanting to see Hi Corbett Field one last time, since the spring training scenes for Major League were filmed there, and the Rockies are moving to a new spring home next year.
In other news, Doug Mientkiewicz is mad that the Dodgers haven't granted his release even though they aren't contractually obligated to do so until Friday. Ken Gurnick of MLB.com has the details:
"I understood from the minute they signed Garret [Anderson]. I appreciated the chance and walked away quietly, figuring it was a no-brainer that I'd get my release. They found somebody better. When Joe told me, I assumed I was released. Next thing I know, my agent calls and says the club is calling me unprofessional for leaving. So I'm not bitter or pouting, but I feel like the Shawshank Redemption. Let me go. No place I'd rather be than with the Los Angeles Dodgers. But I'm not one of the 25. I'm OK with that. I get it. Then, why hold onto me?"
The Dodgers return to Goodyear tomorrow night, this time to play the Indians. Chad Billingsley will start, and be followed by Jeff Weaver, Jonathan Broxton, and George Sherrill.