Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw works on his conditioning during the first… (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
Reporting from Phoenix — Clayton Kershaw pitched in his first game of the spring Sunday, completely overpowering minor league hitters in two scoreless innings of an intrasquad game.
Kershaw faced seven batters, striking out five. He forced a groundout and gave up a broken-bat single. His pitches were clocked as high as 94 mph.
The game put Kershaw in line to face the Texas Rangers on Friday, which, in turn, would line him up to pitch on opening day in San Diego on April 5.
"It's good to get in that game setting and getting in the routine of every fifth day, having something to do," Kershaw said.
Kershaw noted the minor leaguers he faced hadn't even taken live batting practice yet.
"You can't really take the results," Kershaw said. "You take how you feel and I felt fine, which is good."
Kershaw was caught for the first time by Matt Treanor, who is expected to back up A.J. Ellis.
"He was explosive," Treanor said.
Observing Kershaw over the last couple of weeks, Treanor said he has been particularly impressed with his work habits.
"Very professional," Treanor said. "The one thing I've noticed is how he prepares. For me, he does pitch like a veteran guy."
So, you're some kind of genius?
Chris Capuano laughed.
"I've been accused of being book smart but not always street smart," said Capuano, the Dodgers' projected fifth starter.
Capuano, who signed a two-year, $10-million over the winter, was his class valedictorian at Cathedral High in West Springfield, Mass. He later earned a degree in economics from Duke, where he became a member of honor society Phi Beta Kappa.
Never overpowering, the left-hander relied on his brains to get to him to the major leagues. But his grit has helped him stay.
Capuano won 18 games for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2005. His pitched in the All-Star Game the next season.
However, his 2008 and 2009 seasons were wiped out by the second reconstructive elbow surgery of his career. He returned to the major leagues with the Brewers in the middle of the 2010 season.
"After what I went through, missing 2008 and 2009, I had to come to a certain sense of peace to say, 'Whatever happens, I'm OK with it,' " Capuano said.
He comeback became complete last season. He started 31 games for the New York Mets and was 11-12 with a 4.55 earned-run average. His received his validation in the form of a two-year deal with the Dodgers.
"It's one thing for me to say, 'I'm 33 and I feel as good and strong as I did at 25,' " Capuano said. "It's another for a team to look at what you've done the last couple years and say, 'We think that too.' "