03/05/2013 9:53 PM ET
Kershaw eager to straighten out spring struggles
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Clayton Kershaw has a 9.00 ERA. Matt Kemp has a .000 batting average.
Of all the explanations after Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Padres, the Dodgers hope A.J. Ellis' is the best.
"It's March 5th," he said.
Nonetheless, after the Padres beat up Kershaw for four runs on seven hits and chased him without an out in the fourth inning, Kershaw beat himself up for three spring starts that fell far short of his expectations.
Asked if he was concerned, Kershaw said: "I don't know if concern is the best word. I'm definitely not confident after giving up that many runs. I can't say I'm doing great. I definitely look to have a good start one of these days."
He said he feels fine physically but focuses on results, even in Spring Training, and judges his pitches by how the hitters react.
"You saw it -- I gave up hits and runs," he said. "They're reacting well. That's not good. I have to give up less hits and runs. I've been behind in counts and they get hits and that's what it came down to."
Manager Don Mattingly dismissed Kershaw's rough outings, as well as his tougher critique.
"With Kersh, he's never happy unless he's throwing zeros," Mattingly said. "This is part of Spring Training for him. If we saw a lack of velocity or something not working ... he's thrown a couple of sliders that were hit for home runs [including one by Nick Hundley that chased him Tuesday].
"He's not hurt. He shoots for perfection all the time. You see the difference in a kid like Clayton. He expects himself to be really good every time and that's why he's really good."
Meanwhile, Kemp went 0-for-3 with a long flyout to the warning track and a strikeout. This was his first game in the field since October left shoulder surgery, and he'll be back in center field Wednesday against Team Mexico.
"Physically, I feel pretty good," he said. "I need to get more at-bats and get that feel again."
Greinke, Ryu set for big starts; Lilly scratched
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly wouldn't mind being in two places at once Wednesday, as $200 million offseason acquisitions Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu start in split-squad games at different venues, each with an issue to resolve.
Meanwhile, left-hander Ted Lilly, who was scheduled to follow Clayton Kershaw in Tuesday's game against the Padres, was scratched after missing three days due to the flu.
Lilly, who is coming off shoulder surgery, rejoined the club on Tuesday but was told by pitching coach Rick Honeycutt to play catch as he regains his strength. Lilly is tentatively scheduled to pitch on Friday, Honeycutt said. Lilly is one of eight established starting pitchers on the roster, with five spots available. Four of the slots are expected to go to Kershaw, Greinke, Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett. That leaves Lilly, Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang battling for the final spot.
Greinke has had minor forearm tightness and skipped a bullpen session Sunday. Ryu, demonstrating the independence of a six-time All-Star in Korea, has rejected staff suggestions to even throw bullpen sessions between appearances.
Greinke told Honeycutt he's had similar discomfort in the spring and merely needed a day of rest. He starts against Team Mexico at Camelback Ranch.
Ryu has told the staff that he never threw bullpen sessions in Korea and he didn't plan to in the Major Leagues. He starts at Goodyear, Ariz., against Cleveland.
Mattingly said he would attend Ryu's game because five days earlier, with squads also split, he watched Greinke and missed Ryu.
But there seems to be some general concern within the organization about Ryu's willingness to accept advice as he makes the transition from Korea to the Major Leagues, where the competition is tougher, starters pitch with one fewer day of rest and the season lasts one month longer than in Korea.
"I want to see Ryu this time," said Mattingly. "I didn't see him last time and I'd like to see if it's getting better."
The Dodgers, with an excess of starting pitchers, have stated that Ryu does not have a rotation spot locked up, despite the club's $62 million commitment to him. His contract prevents a Minor League demotion without his consent, but he could wind up in the bullpen if Mattingly and Honeycutt believe they have five better starters.
Harang was scouted by the Brewers and Orioles when he pitched three innings in a Minor League game on Monday.
Beckett's next start has been moved up a day and switched to a Minor League game so he can work on mechanics without impacting the big league club.
And Scott Elbert, coming off a pair of elbow operations, has been cleared to resume playing catch, starting on Wednesday. Elbert will open the season on the disabled list.
Tolleson 'back to normal' after knee scare
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Shawn Tolleson, who left Tuesday's game with a left knee injury, said Wednesday the pain is gone and doctors have cleared him to return to action.
"I feel completely normal," Tolleson said. "There's no swelling, no soreness. I'm taking one day to play catch and I should be back to normal [Thursday]."
Tolleson was hurt delivering a pitch as he landed on his left leg. The right-hander said he "felt something weird in my knee, a sharp, exact pain. It spooked me, freaked me out. I thought I did something."
Tolleson said trainers who watched game video haven't been able to explain what or why it happened, but are satisfied nothing is structurally wrong. Tolleson said he never previously had any similar issues.
Kemp makes first spring start in outfield
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Matt Kemp on Tuesday made his first start in the Dodgers' outfield since undergoing left shoulder surgery.
Kemp, who was 0-for-5 this spring in two games as a designated hitter, batted third in the Dodgers' order for their game against the Padres at Peoria. He went 0-for-3 in the 7-3 loss before being replaced by Yasiel Puig in the bottom of the fifth.
Kemp has been eased into action as he recovers from the torn labrum he suffered while running into the wall at Coors Field last August.
With Hanley Ramirez playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, Dee Gordon started at shortstop and led off for the Dodgers. Juan Uribe started at first base and Brian Barden at third base in place of Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz, who are also at the Classic with Team Mexico.
• The Dodgers reassigned non-roster pitcher Gregory Infante to Minor League camp.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.