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Clayton Kershaw strikes out 5 in second spring start

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

MESA -- Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw struck out five in his three innings of work, sufficiently stretching out in his second Cactus League start, a 7-3 win over the Cubs before a sellout crowd at Sloan Park on Tuesday afternoon.

Kershaw allowed five singles and a walk in his three innings of work, needing somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 pitches to do so (I didn't get an exact count, and lost track during the third inning).

"Kersh tends to be his own harshest critic," manager Dave Roberts said. "I’m sure there were a couple pitches he’d like back. But for us, we thought it was a productive and positive day."

The Cubs scored a run with successive singles by Javier Baez, Kyle Schwarber and Kris Bryant in the third inning, helped a tad by a Yasiel Puig throw from right field to third base that was unable to be cut off. But Kershaw was able to mitigate the damage with a strikeout of Jorge Soler, his fifth of the game.

Kershaw has seven strikeouts and two walks in five innings so far in the Cactus League.

He also threw in the bullpen afterwards, continuing to build up arm strength in the long progression toward opening day. Kershaw probably has four more spring starts remaining, and given how pitching coach Rick Honeycutt likes to have the final exhibition start more of a shortened tuneup there are probably effectively only three more starts to build things up. Assuming four innings the next time out, then five, then likely six innings or maybe longer depending on pitch count, Kershaw is right on track at the moment.

Notes

Kiké Hernandez and Trayce Thompson each had triples, with Thompson's plating two runs in the seventh inning. The Dodgers have four triples this spring in six games, by four different players.

Carlos Frias struck out two in two scoreless innings in his second appearance of the spring.

Hyun-jin Ryu played catch again on Tuesday, one day after doing so for the first time in a week and not feeling any discomfort. Manager Dave Roberts said there is no timetable yet for Ryu to throw any bullpen sessions.

Andre Ethier, A.J. Ellis and Micah Johnson each had two hits on Tuesday, and Johnson, who doubled, set himself apart by playing all nine innings at second base.

Up next

The Dodgers hit the road again on Wednesday, heading to Tempe to face the Angels. Scott Kazmir will start for Los Angeles, facing off against Jered Weaver in the 12:05 p.m. PT start. The game will be available to watch in the greater Los Angeles area, with the Angels broadcast on Fox Sports West.