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Clayton Kershaw remains in game after line drive off face

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Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

MESA, Ariz. -- Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw was hit in the jaw by a line drive in the third inning against the Athletics on Friday afternoon at HoHoKam Park, but remained in the game to pitch his scheduled five innings.

Kershaw was struck in the face by a liner off the bat of A's third baseman Andy Parrino with one out in the third inning. Kershaw tried to deflect the liner with his glove, but the ball missed and hit him directly in the jaw, momentarily knocking Kershaw to the ground.

"It obviously scared all of us a little bit," said manager Don mattingly.

After trainer Stan Conte and a bevy of Dodgers surrounded the mound, Kershaw kept pointing to his left jaw area and the inside of his mouth. Kershaw was able to get up under his own power and after brief examination by Conte threw one warmup pitch to catcher A.J. Ellis, and remained in the game.

"My clipboard fell out my hand," said pitching coach Rick Honeycutt. "But I could tell it wasn't hit that hard. Thank goodness he's got a hard head, or a hard jaw."

Kershaw said other than chipping a tooth, which was recovered, he felt fine.

"It felt like getting hit by a pitch, nothing serious," Kershaw said. "It might be a little sore tomorrow."

That Kershaw felt fine after the scare made for a jovial clubhouse.

"I thought the gold glove was a sham," Ellis joked. "He got a change up right at him. I thought he should have made the play and gotten a double play."

Kershaw faced three more batters in the inning, allowing a bloop single by Craig Gentry just over Howie Kendrick's head at second base for the A's first run. Kershaw retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth, retiring his final seven batters faced.

In five innings, Kershaw allowed one run on three hits, with four strikeouts and no walks. He threw 68 pitches, then received a nice ovation between innings as he ran down to the bullpen to finish his day.

"If it was serious, or if I hurt, I wouldn't have [stayed in]. It's not worth it during spring training," Kershaw said. "At the same time, we're at the point, I only have a couple more [starts] left to build up my pitch count, so it's pretty important that I stayed out there."

Kershaw said he has seen the protective caps offered by MLB, but hasn't considered wearing them.

"You look like Mario from Nintendo," Kershaw said. "I'm not a huge appearance guy, but I don't know if I could take myself seriously."

The Dodgers have a scheduled off day on Tuesday, so Kershaw's next start will be Thursday against the White Sox.