SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw has a Cy Young Award, a $19 million contract and the demeanor of an ace with the weight of his team's future on his left shoulder.Five days before his Opening Day start in San Diego, Kershaw was roughed up for three runs in 3 2/3 innings on six hits by the defending National League West champion Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday. "I do worry that he puts too much pressure on himself to do more than he can do. How can he do more than last year?" asked manager Don Mattingly. "How can he even do that again? That's a lot. All we want is for him to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win. He doesn't have to strike out everybody or pitch nine innings every start." Arizona's Jason Kubel, who was pursued by the Dodgers over the winter, doubled and homered, the second home run by a left-handed hitter off Kershaw in his last two starts. Kershaw allowed three homers all last season to lefties. "Not very good," Kershaw said of his outing. "I gave up runs and hits, and usually that constitutes a bad outing. I like to pitch better whenever I go out there. It's no fun to pitch bad. It doesn't count until April 5. I hope I got this out of my system." Kershaw has a 2.45 ERA in five spring starts, 19 hits allowed, 16 strikeouts and eight walks in 22 innings. Last spring he was very similar -- 2.49, 26 hits, 20 strikeouts, six walks, 25 1/3 innings. Kershaw said he couldn't remember if he felt any different last spring. One difference is that he reported to camp this spring with mid-back stiffness, but all parties insist he's healthy and not complaining of any ailment. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said Kershaw has been frustrated late in camp with an inconsistent slider. "He wants to be perfect," said Honeycutt. "At the same time, that's what makes him so good. He's never satisfied. He knows he can improve."
Ethier's foul ball drills former LA exec
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Andre Ethier has been causing the opposition pain all spring, but he took it to a different level on Saturday.Actually, the press level. While facing Ian Kennedy, one of Ethier's foul balls screamed over the backstop right into the press box, where it drilled Arizona Diamondbacks executive Josh Rawitch right in the, well, let's just say he wasn't wearing a cup. "That's awesome," said Ethier. "I should have fouled back more." "That's awesome," said manager Don Mattingly. Rawitch just joined Arizona after a decade with the Dodgers, most recently as vice president of communications, a capacity from which he was frequently asking players to sign this or appear there, do this or do that. "OK, we're even," said Ethier.
Dodgers send Oeltjen to Minor League camp
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers optioned Trent Oeltjen to Minor League camp after Saturday's 9-3 win over the D-backs, in which Oeltjen went 1-for-2 with two runs scored to raise his average to .289.Oeltjen had almost no chance to make the team as a fifth outfielder after the signing of utility man Jerry Hairston, who can play the infield and outfield. Still in camp, however, is outfielder Matt Angle, who slugged a two-run homer Saturday. The Dodgers have 36 players in camp.
The last roster spot appears to be between middle infielder Justin Sellers, who is on the 40-man roster, or corner infielder Josh Fields, who is not. Sellers had a two-run single Saturday to raise his average to .308. Fields has cooled off after a hot start and is batting .273. The last bullpen spot comes down to right-hander Josh Lindblom, who is on the 40-man roster, or left-hander Scott Rice, who is not. Lindblom retired the only batter he faced and has a 3.86 ERA. Rice allowed two hits in 1 2/3 innings without a run, his ERA now 3.86.
Lilly disappointed to start season on shelf
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Ted Lilly said Saturday that he felt fine the day after a bullpen session, which seemed to make it even tougher to swallow Friday's announcement that he would open the season on the disabled list because of recurring neck stiffness."I feel we are definitely taking the conservative route," Lilly said, not hiding the fact that he believes he would have been ready to start the third game of the season. Instead, it will go to Chris Capuano and Lilly will be delayed until April 14. "It stinks taking that long for my neck," he said. "Something like that should have healed. Unfortunately, it got to this point. It's crazy. I never thought I would end up missing a start." Lilly takes seriously his responsibility to take the ball. "One of the reason's I'm in the big leagues has something to do with that," he said. "If you look around at the most successful players, it's not really the most cautious people. It's a combination of being aggressive and pushing the envelope and being smart at the same time. I think we're definitely taking the cautious route. "I felt I would have been able to go out and compete when the time is up, on the 7th, but there were logical reasons why it might not be a good idea, although I felt I could do it."
Dodgers tab 11 prospects for Freeway Series
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers will bring 11 Minor Leaguers to Los Angeles for the Freeway Series against the Angels.Making the trip will be: pitchers Shawn Tolleson, Fernando Nieve, Will Savage, Logan Bawcom and Angel Sanchez; infielders Jeff Baisley and Luis Nunez; outfielders Blake Smith and Jonathan Garcia; and catchers Griff Erickson and Matt Wallach. Tolleson, a reliever ticketed for Double-A Chattanooga, is probably the one closest to reaching the Major Leagues.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.