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Clayton Kershaw starts strong for Dodgers

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Rich Pilling/Getty Images

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw made his first start of spring training on Thursday, pitching two perfect innings against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

"It felt good. The first one was just good to get out there and make sure you feel good physically," Kershaw said. "The results are obviously something that you look for — maybe not the most important thing — but it felt good to throw strikes, it felt good to throw all my pitches, to make some adjustments when I needed to."

Kershaw threw 20 pitches in his two innings, inducing three ground outs while striking out three. No White Sox batter hit the ball out of the infield against him.

He struck out Micah Johnson on a fastball and Jose Abreu on a curve, both looking, in the first inning, totaling 11 pitches.

[h/t to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports for the Vine]

Kershaw said he left a few sliders up in the first inning, but was able to adjust in the second. He needed just nine pitches for his perfect second frame, finishing it off with a swinging strikeout of Conor Gillaspie.

This spring Kershaw is in line to make six starts, compared to the four starts he made in last year's truncated Cactus League schedule thanks to the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opening the regular season in Australia, 10 days earlier than everybody else.

Catcher A.J. Ellis, who caught 22 of Kershaw's 27 starts in 2014 and caught Kershaw on Thursday, said the lack of urgency this spring helps.

"Trying to build up toward the season with a more traditional start date, so you're seeing our starters get two innings in a start instead of three," Ellis said. "You can feel that you're working into what you need to do for April instead of being rushed into an earlier start."

Kershaw's next start will be Tuesday against the Rockies at Camelback Ranch.