02/24/2013 7:23 PM ET
Cruz aiming for consistency in bid to make Dodgers
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hanley Ramirez drove in a run Sunday, which is his favorite part of playing baseball and why he gets the big bucks.
Luis Cruz homered for the other Dodgers run Sunday, which is exactly what he needs to do to alleviate concern about whether he can duplicate a solid second half last season after a career stuck in the Minor Leagues.
"I'm just trying to get the timing right," said Cruz, who struggled offensively while sick during the Mexican Winter League and is a week away from leaving for Team Mexico and the World Baseball Classic.
"It's most important for me to be ready for the season, but the WBC will help me a lot to get ready."
The incumbent starting third baseman who displaced Juan Uribe, a year ago Cruz was a non-roster invitee headed back to Triple-A.
"It's a big difference, but I have to come to Spring Training trying to make the team," he said. "I've got to compete. A lot of guys want to win a spot. I have to keep showing consistency."
Greinke, Ryu as advertised in first Dodgers action
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers got their first game looks Sunday at their $200 million pitching purchases.
Zack Greinke looked like Zack Greinke with two scoreless innings and two strikeouts, and he was followed with one scoreless inning from Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who overcame a two-out triple by Dewayne Wise on a hanging curveball, a pitch two days earlier he worked on with Sandy Koufax.
"It didn't really work today," said Ryu. "I'll continue practicing."
Ryu showed a sneaky fastball and a big-time changeup that caught Gordon Beckham looking for a called third strike.
"He looked pretty good, really," manager Don Mattingly said of Ryu.
Ryu pitched only one inning because the staff is easing him into a five-day routine coming from Korea, where he pitched every six days. He and Greinke will start split-squad games on Friday. Both threw an additional inning in the bullpen after they left the game.
Rookie catcher Tim Federowicz, who doubled and scored the Dodgers' first run, said both pitchers had solid fastball command. Federowicz said Greinke made life easy with a spot-on pregame scouting report on White Sox hitters.
"He knows what he's doing," Mattingly said, comparing Greinke to Clayton Kershaw in his spring approach.
Federowicz praised Ryu for his "laid-back" presence on the mound and quick adjustment following a high fastball.
Ryu said he got through the inning without a walk, "so I guess I succeeded. The ball felt extra slick for some reason. I need to get used to it."
The game was played on a cold and windy day, but Ryu appeared comfortable during and after the game, until he was asked about his weight, which is now listed at 255 pounds after 215 originally. He said he's lost 11 pounds since arriving in Arizona, but wouldn't confirm his current weight.
"Only I know how much I weigh," he said. "That's my No. 1 secret."
When told his weight was restated for the roster, he said: "If that's the case, I think a lot of players have to change, too."
Herrera feels OK after plunking scare
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers utility man Elian Herrera narrowly escaped injury Sunday when White Sox pitcher Jake Petricka grazed his helmet with a fastball.
"If I didn't move, maybe I die right now," said Herrera. "It was coming right at my face. Not good."
Herrera remained in the game until the Dodgers' half of the inning ended, then was removed for precautionary purposes, but said he was fine.
Herrera, a nine-year Minor Leaguer, suddenly stepped in at second base last year when Mark Ellis was injured. He's in a tough competition to make the club this spring with utility roles virtually assured for Jerry Hairston, Skip Schumaker and Nick Punto.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.