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02/28/11 8:34 PM EST

Slowly but surely, Kuo close to game action

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, tugging on the reins imposed by the medical staff, had a 43-pitch bullpen session Monday and is getting closer to his first game action of the spring.

Kuo, always a special case because of the four operations on his arthritic elbow, figures to have another bullpen session this week, then would face hitters in a batting-practice session and be in a game by next week. He hasn't had any setbacks this spring but is being brought along slowly as a precautionary measure.

The victim hit hardest by the flu bug that has swept through Camelback Ranch-Glendale is outfielder Jay Gibbons, who missed his third game Monday and will make it four on the sidelines Tuesday before he returns as a designated hitter Wednesday at the earliest, manager Don Mattingly said.

First baseman John Lindsey also remains sidelined with a strained calf muscle suffered last week.

Non-roster starting pitcher Dana Eveland reinjured his strained hamstring during a bullpen session he cut short and will need to back off. He suffered the injury in the first workout of the spring.

Pitcher Javy Guerra faced hitters for the first time since suffering a gash on a finger of his pitching hand in a November kitchen mishap. He is moving closer to game action.

First start settles Kershaw into routine

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw, already named the Dodgers' Opening Day starter, threw balls with his first six pitches in his spring debut Monday before righting the ship and logging three innings without allowing an earned run.

Kershaw made 44 pitches, and the only run he allowed the White Sox was unearned in the Dodgers' 6-5 win. He struck out three, walked one and allowed two hits.

"It was all right," he said. "After the first batter, I threw my fastball for strikes, and that's important."

Kershaw said he builds up endurance through the up-and-down of finishing and starting innings, so he was pleased he did it three times. And he approves of the staff's decision to immediately put him on a five-day throwing program, which is new this year.

"I'm a routine guy, so as soon as we go to five days, it makes me feel I'm on a normal schedule," he said.

Broxton breezes through first spring inning

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The restoration of Jonathan Broxton passed a first test Monday with a scoreless inning in his exhibition debut as the Dodgers edged the White Sox, 6-5.

Broxton needed only seven pitches and overcame one of four Dodgers errors to pick up the win in relief of Clayton Kershaw, who went three innings and 44 pitches in his spring debut.

"It felt good to get out there back on the mound and get prepared for a new season," Broxton said.

He maintained the key talking point designed to leave his second-half fade of 2010 behind.

"I'm not talking about last year," he said. "I just have to throw more strikes and get ahead of guys. That makes it easier to pitch."

Broxton said he intends to again work in a splitter this year but didn't throw any Monday as he focused on restoring a once-blazing fastball that lost five miles an hour last year.

"It could become a great pitch," he said of the splitter. "If I locate the fastball, that's what I need. I'm just trying to stay healthy and build my arm strength up, get my legs under me and get my arm in shape."

He said he would work in sliders in his next bullpen session in two days. Pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said he plans on 10 spring appearances for the right-hander, including a two-inning back-field stint and back-to-back exhibition games.

"This was a good starting point to begin 2011," Honeycutt said. "I like his aggressiveness and his attitude."

Manager Don Mattingly, who proclaimed Broxton his closer as soon as last season ended, now has seen Broxton for two weeks in camp.

"Brox is a tough read," he said. "He doesn't show you much or give you a lot of emotion. He seems good in our talks over the winter. He was aggressive today. Through camp, you've seen it coming. I'm confident with the decision with him, and we'll see."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.