PEORIA, Ariz. -- Amid speculation that Clayton Kershaw could soon be the first $200 million pitcher in baseball history, another number has popped up next to his name this spring -- and he's not happy about it.
Kershaw has a 9.00 ERA in three Cactus League starts after he gave up four runs in three-plus innings of Tuesday's 7-3 loss to the Padres. While he was not ready to admit the spring results concerned him, he definitely sounded like a pitcher unhappy with the way his spring is going.
"Concerned might not be the best word. But I'm definitely not confident, I guess you could say, after giving up that many runs," the Dodgers' ace said. "You can't say you feel great and you're doing great if you're not seeing the results.
"I'm definitely looking to have a good start here one of these days."
Tuesday wasn't the one. He gave up hits in clusters -- singles to the first four batters he faced for one Padres run in the first inning, then a single, triple and home run to the three batters he faced before being pulled in the fourth. Kershaw was not willing to use the pitcher's usual free pass and dismiss those results as simply meaningless in the context of preseason preparation.
"I focus on results. That's the best way to dictate how you're doing -- how hitters react," he said. "So it (stinks) to give up hits and runs like that. It's no fun no matter where it is."
Asked what he learned from the hitters' reactions Tuesday, Kershaw said, "You saw it. They're reacting well. It's not good. ... They're taking good swings on fastballs."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he has seen nothing from Kershaw this spring to concern him. He has already named him the opening-day starter and said Kershaw's discontent is not surprising.
"With Kersh, he's never really happy unless he's throwing zeroes," Mattingly said. "This is part of, for me, spring training for him. If we were seeing a real lack of velocity or something just wasn't working (then you might be concerned). When he's getting hit, his slider isn't quite working. He's given up a couple home runs -- he gave up a couple early last year on that slider. He kind of overthrows it and it just kind of stays there.
"We'll have forgotten all about theses games as we get moving."
Left-hander Ted Lilly was out because of a flu bug and was scratched from his scheduled appearance. Mattingly said he hoped Lilly would be ready to throw a bullpen session Wednesday and then pitch in one of the Dodgers' two split-squad games Friday.
Right-hander Zack Greinke did not throw his scheduled bullpen session Sunday because of tightness in his right forearm. Greinke said the discomfort wasn't even enough to qualify as "soreness" and he will make his next scheduled start Wednesday when a Dodgers' split-squad team plays Team Mexico at Camelback Ranch. Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu will start the split-squad game against the Indians in Goodyear.
Meanwhile, Mattingly said right-hander Josh Beckett would throw in a simulated game in minor-league camp Thursday rather than in a Cactus League game when his turn comes up Friday. Beckett has looked sharp while pitching five scoreless innings in his first two spring starts and Mattingly said he will get extra rest between starts later this spring, something he and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt plan to do with each of their eight starters.
But this week's juggling act seems to line Beckett up behind Kershaw and Greinke as the No. 3 starter. Mattingly said it was a little early to start talking definitively about where the starters would be slotted once the season starts.
"We're just trying to get guys ready," he said. "Later on, we'll get our best five lined up and then see if there's an alternative that fits in the bullpen."
Right-hander Shawn Tolleson left Tuesday's game in the eighth inning because of an apparent injury to his left knee. Tolleson "felt something pop in there" when he landed on his left leg, according to Mattingly. He was scheduled to have it examined Tuesday night. ... Left-hander Scott Elbert said he has been cleared to start a throwing program Wednesday. Elbert has spent the spring rehabbing from elbow surgery in January -- after spending most of the previous four months rehabbing from another elbow surgery in September. "I'm ready to do something different," Elbert said. He hopes to be back in action by May. ... Matt Kemp made his defensive debut of the spring, playing four innings in center field and going hitless in three at-bats. Kemp is 0 for 8 with three strikeouts this spring. Kemp said he hasn't had any problems with his surgically repaired shoulder since he began playing in games last week. "Not at all," he said. "I feel pretty good. I just need to get some more at-bats, get the feeling back. ... I'm all good." Kemp is scheduled to start in center field again Wednesday against Team Mexico. ... The Dodgers re-assigned non-roster right-hander Gregory Infante to minor-league camp. They now have 54 players in camp (including six currently with their World Baseball Classic teams). ... Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez was 4 for 6 with two doubles and a home run for the Dominican WBC team in an exhibition against the Phillies in Florida on Tuesday.
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