2/26/2014 6:52 P.M. ET
Kershaw's spring debut leaves room for improvement
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Conspiracy theorists will use Wednesday's tough two innings as further evidence that Clayton Kershaw won't make the Australia trip for the Opening Series, but he's still the ace and still further along than any other Dodgers starter.
Kershaw appeared a little amped for the exhibition-season opener against Arizona, his fastball rising and the D-backs hacking out five sharp hits for three runs in two innings, although a misplay by left fielder Carl Crawford (somehow ruled a triple) on a screaming A.J. Pollock liner accounted for two of the three runs for which Kershaw was charged.
Postgame questions centered on whether Kershaw would start against Arizona in Australia next month, and answers from the pitcher and his manager remained vague. Not so vague was Kershaw's self critique after making 40 pitches, then throwing another 15 in the bullpen.
"Obviously, not good. The results weren't very pretty," said the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner. "My body and my arm feel good. Obviously a lot to work on. I'm a results-based guy and I have to see results -- outs. Today left a lot to be desired. The hitters told me by how hard they hit the ball."
Manager Don Mattingly maintained that he's readying four starters for the trip -- Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren. After the firestorm over Greinke's recent unenthusiastic comments, Kershaw was well-schooled when he spoke of the trip.
"Both teams are going, we might as well enjoy it," he said.
Asked if he wanted to go to Australia, Kershaw said: "Ask Donnie."
Because of the compressed exhibition schedule, Kershaw is likely to have only four Cactus League starts, but nobody else will make more, so he remains as likely an Australian participant as anyone until he skips a start.
Three relievers following Kershaw were more impressive. Javy Guerra, who is out of options, pitched a scoreless inning. Seth Rosin, a Rule 5 Draft pick, in two innings struck out five, including four in a row. And Jose Dominguez, the hardest thrower in camp, pitched a perfect inning with two strikeouts.
They appeared in the first game because decisions must be made on each of them -- especially Guerra and Rosin, who could be lost if they don't make the club -- with fewer games to evaluate before the flight to Australia on March 16, when only 30 players can travel.
Guerrero gets first game in US under his belt
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Cuban defector Alex Guerrero played in his first exhibition game in the United States in Wednesday's Cactus League opener.
Guerrero, starting at second base, struck out looking and grounded out in his only at-bats. He cleanly fielded the only grounder his way and turned a smooth pivot on a tailor-made double-play grounder to shortstop Chone Figgins.
Guerrero's transition to second base has been slow but steady. He was signed to a four-year, $28 million contract by a management that expected him to replace Mark Ellis as the starter without playing in the Minor Leagues in the U.S.
"He looked better at the plate his second at-bat," manager Don Mattingly said of Guerrero, who sat out last year before leaving Cuba. "It's his first Spring Training game. We're actually not judging off one game or two at-bats. I'm happy with what I saw.
"We're seeing a guy who hasn't played a while. We'll see what he looks like after a few games. We're not pulling the trigger in this short a time."
Guerrero said he felt comfortable after some initial nerves, calling his first game "a big deal."
League feels good after facing first hitters
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dodgers reliever Brandon League pitched to hitters for the first time Wednesday and had no discomfort.
League had been set back with a mild quad strain and hasn't been available for game action yet. Among the hitters he faced were Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
If League comes out of the batting-practice session healthy, he's likely to throw a bullpen session Friday or Saturday and then appear in an exhibition game.
Dodgers ready for annual open tryout
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers hold their annual open tryout on Thursday at 9 a.m. MT at the Camelback Ranch Minor League complex.
Participants must not be enrolled in high school, on a college roster or be under contract with any Major League club.
Additional information is available on the Dodgers Scouting Hotline at 323-224-1512.
Larry King to host show on SportsNet LA
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Award-winning TV and radio personality and lifelong Dodgers fan Larry King will host the "Larry King At Bat" series on SportsNet LA, the Dodgers' new regional sports network.
King is a Dodgers season-ticket holder and has been a fan of the team since its days in Brooklyn. "Larry King At Bat" will feature interviews of celebrities, baseball legends, Dodgers personalities and other luminaries in a series of hour-long episodes, debuting on March 18 at 7 p.m. and featuring SportsNet LA studio analyst Orel Hershiser in an exclusive sit-down interview.
"I have been a Dodger fan all my life. I am happy to be a part of SportsNet LA, the new 24/7 Dodgers television network," King said in a release. "With my love of sports and my interviewing skills, I think it will be a happy combo. I am looking forward to a great year!"
"In addition to being a talented and renowned TV personality, Larry King is an incredible Dodger fan," said Stan Kasten, Dodgers president and CEO. "We are so excited to officially bring him into the Dodger family with the new SportsNet LA show 'Larry King At Bat.'"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.