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Dodgers spring notes: Clayton Kershaw, Sandy Koufax, ping pong

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PHOENIX -- The Dodgers fully incorporated live batting practice into their full squad workouts on Saturday, combining pitchers needing work and hitters needing reps all in one. The pitchers are generally ahead of the hitters at this stage of camp anyway, but the poor suckers in the Dodgers' first group of hitters on Saturday had to face both Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen.

"These days are more geared for getting the pitchers ready, and giving those guys a look. At this point and time the hitters don't feel like they get too much out it, especially with Clayton going on the first day," manager Dave Roberts said. "But we're trying to get those guys geared up."

Among that first group, which faced a simulated inning of Kershaw, followed by an inning of Jansen, then another inning of Kershaw, included Howie Kendrick, Carl Crawford, Alex Guerrero, Joc Pederson, Kiké Hernandez and Chase Utley. Also in the group was Corey Seager, who faced Kershaw for the first time ever.

Kershaw threw 41 pitches in his two innings, and said he was able to throw all of his pitches, though there were a few times on the mound the competitive Kershaw let out a yell on the field.

"Just trying to figure some stuff out out there," Kershaw said. "It takes practice and it takes time, but in the moment you always think you should be able to do everything you want."

Roberts wasn't ready to reveal his starter for Thursday's Cactus League opener against the White Sox, but logic dictates that Kershaw could be in line to start Thursday or Friday.


Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax wasn't in camp Saturday, one day after dropping in and visiting with players and coaches on Friday. Koufax is no longer a special advisor to the Dodgers, not that he needs a title to show up in Dodgers camp

"Sandy always has an opportunity to come here whenever he wants and can engage as much as he wants. He has an open invitation," Roberts said Saturday. "If he comes out, that's fantastic. There's really no expectation. He has the right to do whatever he feels comfortable doing."

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times asked Roberts if Koufax was into analytics.

"I don't know his spin rate," Roberts quipped. "His exit velocity against, he was at the top, I'm sure."

Ping pong

Saturday also marked the drawing of names for the Dodgers annual ping pong tournament. Teammate pairings were reportedly drawn out of a hat, and among the notable pairings are Yasiel Puig and Kenta Maeda, and Joc Pederson and Dave Roberts.

Kershaw was paired with first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

"Gonzo's not very good," Kershaw joked. "We're going to work on his competitiveness and the games. Hopefully we can at least make it a couple rounds."


Roberts said Cuban pitcher Yaisel Sierra could be in camp within a few days.

Other pitchers who faced hitters on Saturday included Chris Hatcher, Yimi Garcia, Joe Blanton, J.P. Howell, Luis Avilan, Carlos Frias, Matt West and Adam Liberatore.