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Clayton Kershaw to start Cactus League opener

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Zack Greinke will start the second game, also against the Diamondbacks.

Eric Stephen | True Blue LA

GLENDALE -- Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers on Wednesday when they open their Cactus League schedule against the Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, manager Don Mattingly announced on Friday.

Zack Greinke will start the second spring game, also against Arizona, on Thursday at Camelback Ranch.

Kershaw threw two simulated innings on Friday, pitching live batting practice to Andre Ethier, Hanley Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez on the back fields at Camelback Ranch.

The way the Cactus League schedule works, Kershaw won't get more than four starts before the club departs for Australia after their game on March 16. He and Greinke are expected to start the Dodgers' two regular season games in Sydney on March 22-23, though the club plans to also have starters Hyun-jin Ryu and Dan Haren on schedule to pitch just in case they are needed.

But in theory, if Kershaw continues to progress from his two innings on Friday, he could throw three innings, then four, five and six innings in his four spring starts, and be ready to go at full strength in the regular season opener in Australia.

Notes

  • Yasiel Puig was held out of team workouts a second straight day on Friday after fouling a ball off his right leg on Wednesday. Puig was limited to the weight room and batting cage on Friday, but is expected to resume full workouts tomorrow. Puig's weight became a bit of an issue Friday when Mark Saxon of ESPN LA asked Mattingly about Puig reporting 25 pounds heavier than he was at the end of last season. "We don't feel it's going to be a problem, but we're paying attention to it, put it that way," Mattingly said.
  • Matt Kemp took extra batting practice on the minor league side of camp on Friday. Still not cleared to run, Kemp is expected to have an MRI next week to determine whether or not he can increase his activities. Mattingly reiterated that Kemp won't be ready to play in the opening two games against Arizona. "We're not hopeful for Australia," Mattingly said.
  • Paul Maholm, who has been limited by elbow tenderness all camp, will throw a bullpen session on Saturday, his first time pitching off a mound since arriving in camp on Feb. 8.