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Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw is over flu

Pitcher is feeling much better than Thursday, when he lasted only three innings in season opener against Padres.

April 07, 2012|By Dylan Hernandez
  • Clayton Kershaw is expected to make his scheduled start Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Dodgers' home opener.
Clayton Kershaw is expected to make his scheduled start Tuesday against… (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated…)

SAN DIEGO — Clayton Kershaw walked into the Dodgers clubhouse at Petco Park on Saturday doing something he hasn't done since the regular season started.

He smiled.

"Better," he said.

Later, Kershaw threw a bullpen session. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said that based on what he saw, he felt comfortable sending Kershaw to face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday in the Dodgers' home opener.

"He's smiling, he's actually walking," Manager Don Mattingly said, referring to how he found Kershaw lying down in the tunnel between the dugout and the clubhouse Thursday.

That day, a flu-striken Kershaw lasted only three innings in his opening-day start.

Earlier in the week, Kershaw announced he would again donate $100 to charity for every strikeout he records this season.

Kershaw started the "Kershaw's Challenge" program last season when he struck out a league-leading 248 batters. Including additional donations made by him and others, Kershaw raised more than $200,000 to build an orphanage in Zambia.

Kenley Jansen makes adjustments

Dodgers setup man Kenley Jansen threw a 10-pitch bullpen session to fix mechanical problems that he blamed for his substandard form.

Jansen, who averaged a major league-record 16.1 strikeouts per nine innings last season, gave up a two-run home run to Cameron Maybin in the season opener. He posted a 5.00 earned-run average in spring training.

"I'm a little off right now," Jansen said.

Watching video of the inning he pitched Thursday, Jansen and Honeycutt observed that he wasn't using his legs the way he was last season.

Jansen was encouraged by his pregame throwing session Saturday.

"I can see the ball has more life," he said.

Because he was converted from catcher to pitcher less than three years ago, Jansen said he often doesn't realize he's making mistakes until he sees them on video.

"I still have a lot to learn," he said. "But I am confident. I know who I am. I know what type of guy I can be."

Juan Rivera, Juan Uribe sit out

Juan Uribe was out of the lineup Saturday, but Mattingly said it had nothing to do with the two hitless nights the third baseman had to start the season.

Mattingly held Uribe out of the evening game Saturday so he could have him available for the day game Sunday. Uribe is hitting .444 with two home runs and four runs batted in in 18 career at-bats against the Padres' Sunday starter, Clayton Richard.

Mattingly sat Juan Rivera on Saturday night for similar reasons; Mattingly wants the right-handed-hitting Rivera to face the left-handed Richard.

"You'd pretty much like to have him every day," Mattingly said of Rivera. "But I noticed last year when I kept banging him and banging him, he'd get tired and it'd cost him."

Tony Gwynn Jr. took Rivera's place in left field. Adam Kennedy started in Uribe's place at third base.

Uribe was 0 for 7 with three strikeouts and a walk in his first two games.

"Juan's going to be streaky," Mattingly said of Uribe. "I'm not going to let two games determine how we use this guy. Juan's going to get his at-bats. He's going to get his chances. I don't really have anyone that I can play every day over there. I think he's our best defensive guy over there."

Mattingly said he remained hopeful that Uribe could bat .240, hit anywhere from 15 to 20 home runs and drive in 60 runs.

dylan.hernandez@latimes.com

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