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Clayton Kershaw gets hit hard in spring training game

Opening day starter gives up 11 hits and six runs against the Rangers, but Manager Don Mattingly is not worried.

March 15, 2011|By Jim Peltz
  • Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch during the Dodgers' 7-6 spring training victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch during the Dodgers'… (Jake Roth / U.S. Presswire )

Reporting from Phoenix — Clayton Kershaw, who is scheduled to be the Dodgers' starter on opening day of the regular season, arrived at Camelback Ranch Tuesday for his fourth start of the spring having not given up an earned run in his previous 11 1/3 innings.

Then he ran into the Texas Rangers.

The defending American League champions roughed up Kershaw for 11 hits and six runs — five earned — in 5 2/3 innings before Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly lifted the 23-year-old left-hander.

Clayton Kershaw gets hit hard in spring training game

"I got hit hard today," Kershaw said. "Don't know why, just did. Usually it's a matter of me not throwing strikes, but today I did throw strikes."

Asked if it helped that it was a Cactus League game, Kershaw replied: "It's good that it doesn't count, but it doesn't feel any better to get hit hard."

Mattingly was not concerned. "He was OK," he said of Kershaw. "He ran out of steam a little bit toward the end."

Batting matters

The Dodgers have the worst hitting team in the big leagues so far this spring, but Mattingly — formerly the team's batting coach — says he is not concerned.

"Not really. Not at all, actually," he said. "It just doesn't matter."

The Dodgers entered play Tuesday with a team batting average of .239, but once the regular season opens, "nobody remembers that this guy hit .450 in the spring or he hit .120," said Mattingly, who had 2,153 hits in his 14-year career with the New York Yankees.

"I saw [Gary] Sheffield go a whole camp without hardly getting a hit and he gets three hits the first day" of the regular season, Mattingly added. "Jesse Barfield, the same thing."

Mattingly also noted that until the Dodgers went flat in the latter half of 2010, "we were a pretty good offensive club" and one that still has "pretty much the same guys."

"I have no reason to think this isn't the same offense that we had two years ago or up until the [All-Star] break last year," he said.

Mattingly said the Dodgers' hitting woes wouldn't have come up much when he was playing (1982-95), but with advances in technology and real-time statistics always available, that has changed.

"Seriously, you did not ever see a stat sheet in spring training" in the past, Mattingly said. "Nobody ever really worried about it. It was just about getting ready."

Blake update

The doctor who examined Casey Blake and reviewed his MRI test said the rear ribcage discomfort that's sidelined the third baseman probably stemmed from inflammation around the lower thoracic spine, the Dodgers said.

There was no sign that Blake's oblique or intercostal muscles were strained when he suffered the injury while running out a sacrifice bunt Saturday, the team said.

Blake "has improved" and the physician, Dr. Robert Watkins Jr., reported that Blake could return to playing "as he tolerates" any pain, the Dodgers said.

Kuroda donation

Hiroki Kuroda donated $50,000 to the earthquake and tsunami relief efforts in Japan, Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch said.

Speaking through an interpreter, Kuroda also addressed his teammates during their morning meeting Tuesday to talk about the devastation in his home country.

Before joining the Dodgers in 2008, Kuroda spent several years playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan.

Latest cuts

Infielder Russ Mitchell, reliever Jon Link, catcher J.D. Closser and pitcher Ramon Colon were sent to minor league camp.

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