3/23/2014 1:10 A.M. ET
Puig deals with gaffes on bases, sore back
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
SYDNEY -- Yasiel Puig departed Saturday night's game with a sore back after striking out in the ninth.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Puig might have an MRI when the team arrives back in Los Angeles.
"I don't know. He came out of the game, told [trainer Stan Conte] something's hurt," Mattingly said. "He plays hard, gets hurt but bounces back. We'll see how he is."
The injury came at the end of an interesting day at the plate and on the basepaths. Puig drove in two runs and probably ran out of two of them on Sunday in the Dodgers' Opening Series finale against the D-backs at Sydney Cricket Ground.
After Dee Gordon doubled Hyun-Jin Ryu to third with no outs in the third inning, Puig singled sharply to left field as Ryu scored, but Mark Trumbo's throw into the infield was cut off and Gordon held third base.
Puig, however, rounded first and headed to second, triggering a 7-5-4-3-5-4 rundown, which Gordon compounded by not breaking for the plate. After Hanley Ramirez's walk, Gordon scored on Adrian Gonzalez's sacrifice fly, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead. Andre Ethier, who had a baserunning gaffe of his own in the first inning trying to stretch an RBI single into a double, singled Ramirez to third on what may have scored a run had Puig still been on base.
Kershaw able to flip switch in Australia
SYDNEY -- The day after the season opener went so well, Clayton Kershaw explained why many of the Dodgers were apprehensive about making this trip to Australia.
"I think everybody realized it would be a fun trip once we got here," said Kershaw, who took his stardom to a new hemisphere with Saturday night's 3-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"The hardest part for the players is that it's not going to be a vacation," Kershaw said. "So, the hardest part is to go from sightseeing and having fun to being ready to be competitive and go to work. Flipping that switch, it's not that easy.
"I think what really helped was that we had a few days to adjust and get done what you needed to get done before the games that counted. Actually, more than anything, it was a great trip for the wives. They got a trip to Australia. How cool was that?"
Kershaw made 102 pitches over 6 2/3 innings, even though he pitched late into October and this game was the earliest season opener in history.
"I felt fine," he said. "And it's great I don't have to pitch in five days. That's going to help quite a bit."
Kershaw was pitching on one extra day of rest. Although manager Don Mattingly hasn't named Kershaw the starting pitcher for the resumption of regular-season play on March 30 in San Diego, that's the way it will probably go.
"I feel normal today," Kershaw said. "I feel good."
Game 1 stud Van Slyke sits in finale
SYDNEY -- Scott Van Slyke, the unlikely offensive star in Saturday's 3-1 Dodgers win, was on the bench to start Game 2 of the Opening Series, replaced in left field by Mike Baxter.
The fact that either of them started these games was due to the paternity leave of Carl Crawford, whose fiance Evelyn Lozada gave birth to their baby on Saturday. Crawford will rejoin the club for Tuesday's workout at Dodger Stadium.
Against right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill, manager Don Mattingly put second baseman Dee Gordon in the leadoff spot, followed by right fielder Yasiel Puig. He dropped third baseman Juan Uribe to eighth and put catcher A.J. Ellis behind fifth hitter Andre Ethier, who started in center.
"For me, it's always about the combination of guys you have," said Mattingly. "We're trying to protect 'Dre with A.J. because he's hitting better."
Mattingly said replacing Van Slyke, who started against Arizona lefty Wade Miley in the opener, with Baxter against the right-hander Cahill was "the plan from the beginning."
Having handled constant questions about the logjam of four outfielders, Mattingly was unfazed when asked how he'll handle five.
"It'll be six at some point," he said. "I'm not that concerned. It just makes the bench better. We have a mixture of guys to play, and it will keep everybody going in the right direction."
Dodgers show off home white unis in Australia
SYDNEY -- Although they were the visiting team, the Dodgers broke with baseball tradition on Sunday and wore their home white uniforms.
Lon Rosen, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said the club received permission from MLB to display what he called "our very recognizable uniform."
"This is all for baseball and the fans here," Rosen said.
Longtime equipment manager Mitch Poole said it was the first time he could remember the Dodgers wearing white uniforms on the road. Both games at Sydney Cricket Ground were designated as Arizona home games.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.