Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw ducks to avoid getting struck… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)
Spring has sprung, or at least the Dodgers have. They played their final exhibition game in Arizona Wednesday, fell to the Mariners, 10-7, packed up and headed for Los Angeles.
A group of backups and minor leaguers made the trip to Peoria, Ariz., to take on the Mariners, though Clayton Kershaw did manage to get in a little work. If not for this being spring training, or at least a get-away day, it would have featured a marquee matchup against Felix Hernandez.
Kershaw was decidedly so-so (three runs on five hits and a walk in three innings), but he must have looked like he was in Cy Young form to Ted Lilly, who followed him and was about one pitch from complete disaster. Ah, heck, he was disastrous.
Lilly almost assured himself a spot on the disabled list to start the season, giving up seven runs on six hits and three walks in only 2 1/3 innings.
Coming back from off-season shoulder surgery, losing time because of the flu and having one start rained out, Lilly had thrown only 6 2/3 previous innings this spring. Manager Don Mattingly told reporters in Arizona that Lilly was not built up yet, so for now, there goes one of the three bonus starters.
Kershaw, who gave up a two-run homer to Michael Morse in the first inning, will next be seen Monday in the season opener against the Giants.
There is still a chance he could have an impressive new contract by then, but Wednesday said he did not want to discuss negotiations with reporters. He repeated, however, that he does not want extension discussions to drag into the regular season.
The Dodgers did say that spring sensation Yasiel Puig, already sent to double-A Chattanooga, will make the trip with the team back to Los Angeles this weekend. He is scheduled to play in an unusual split-squad game Thursday in Rancho Cucamonga and then be with the team for their final two exhibition games against the Angels.
Their game at home on Friday will be the first opportunity for most to check out the $100-milllion-plus renovations Dodger Stadium has undergone this off-season. Assuming, of course, they’re done.
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