Aaron Harang was solid in his start on Thursday for the Dodgers, who lost to the Chicago White Sox 3-1 at Camelback Ranch. Harang allowed one run in six innings, joining Clayton Kershaw as the only Dodgers pitchers to pitch six innings in a start this spring.
Harang threw 104 pitches, and said he worked on his curve and cutter during the game. He struck out six and walked one.
"I felt like I was locating pitches well," Harang said. "I felt really good. I felt like a was controlling the strike zone, and keeping hitters off balance."
Harang said he is superstitious and puts nine pieces of gum in his jacket before every start, planning to chew one piece for each inning he pitches. "I want to try and go nine every time I go out there," he said. Harang, who led the National League with six complete games in 2006, last pitched a complete game on June 4, 2009.
Matt Kemp struck out in all four plate appearances on Thursday, and has 21 strikeouts against just one walk in 55 plate appearances this spring, hitting .288/.291/.442. Manager Don Mattingly is not terribly worried about his center fielder.
"Yes and no," Mattingly said when asked if he was concerned about the high strikeout totals from Kemp. "You don't want a guy to keep swinging and missing all the time. But it would concern me a lot more if Matt didn't continue to work and was just taking it halfheartedly.
"He's been working on his swing, and when he's struggled I know he's concerned enough that he's not feeling quite right. There have been times he has asked for more at-bats. I'd be a lot more concerned if I didn't feel like there wasn't a sense of urgency to try and get this right before opening day."
Eighth Bullpen Spot
Should Ted Lilly need to go on the disabled list to open the season, the Dodgers will add an eighth reliever until a fifth starter is needed, which could be as late as April 14. The two leading candidates for that spot, Josh Lindblom and Scott Rice, each gave up a run on Thursday.
Mattingly praised both Lindblom and Rice, saying he would feel comfortable with either one of them in the bullpen. Rice has two walks and eight strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings this spring, with a 4.71 ERA. Lindblom has a 4.50 ERA in 10 innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks.
Lindblom said he worked out this offseason harder than he ever has, and the results of shown, at least physically. "I feel great this spring, I've thrown the ball well. Strength wise, this is the best I've felt in any spring I've had," Lindblom said. "Body, arm, everything, I feel strong. The ball is coming out well, and I feel like I'm ready for the season to start."
"Josh has been okay. For a while there, up until about six or seven days ago, he may have been the best in camp throwing the ball, along with Nathan [Eovaldi]," said Mattingly.
The Dodgers released catcher Josh Bard and outfielder Cory Sullivan, both non-roster invitees, after the game, reducing the total number of players in camp to 37.
Josh Fields and Luis Cruz, both battling for the final bench spot, each played left field in today's game, for the first time all spring.
- Tony Gwynn Jr. traveled to Peoria to get some extra at-bats, facing Padres Triple A pitchers, going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.
The Dodgers have a split squad on Friday afternoon, with one game in Mesa against the Chicago Cubs and another game at Camelback Ranch against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Fernando Nieve starts in Mesa for the Dodgers against Ryan Dempster (yes, James Loney will be in the lineup) for Chicago. Mike MacDougal, Kenley Jansen, Scott Elbert, and Javy Guerra are also scheduled to pitch in Mesa.
Chris Capuano starts at Camelback Ranch against one of his former teams, while Francisco Rodriguez starts on the mound for Milwaukee. Also scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers against the Brewers are Jamey Wright, Todd Coffey, and Matt Guerrier.
Home Runs: Trayce Thompson (1)
WP - Chris Sale (1-1): 6 IP, 4 hits, 1 run, 7 strikeouts
LP - Josh Lindblom (0-1): 1 IP, 1 hit, 1 run
Sv - Matt Thornton (1): 1 IP, 2 strikeouts