Kershaw hit in face by liner, pitches 5 sharp innings

MESA, Ariz. (AP) Clayton Kershaw broke a tooth when was hit in the face by a line drive in the third, then he finished a sharp five-inning outing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics in a game between split squads Friday.

Andy Parrino’s soft liner struck Kershaw on the left side of his face. Third baseman Juan Uribe picked it up and threw wildly past first base, setting up the A’s only run.

”It was a cutter right on me,” A’s infielder Andy Parrino said. ”I didn’t hit it too well and I don’t think he saw it too well. ”This early you never want this kind of thing to happen.”

Kershaw fell in front of the mound then was examined by Dodgers trainer Stan Conte before throwing a warmup pitch. He remained in the game and allowed one run on three hits overall. He struck out four and did not walk a batter.

”My initial feeling was he was going to be OK,” Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis said. ”I think it just fooled him. I saw him get up right away.”

Kershaw also had a hit.

Sonny Gray and Barry Zito each had solid outings for the Athletics. Gray allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1-3 innings. Zito, in the hunt for a spot in the starting rotation, pitched three perfect innings, striking out five.

THE ZITO EFFECT

Zito focuses on starting and does not even consider questions about possibly making the Athletics as a long-man in the bullpen.

”Pitching is all timing and every outing is another opportunity to get that timing,” he said. ”Right now I’m in a starting position and I’m getting innings like a starter.”

Non-roster catcher Luke Carlin, who drove in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, has caught Zito in his past two outings, a combined seven scoreless innings.

”He looks like he’s taking steps forward and he continues to impress,” Carlin said. ”He’s getting better every time out. He got a couple of punch outs and that’s nice to see.”

STARTING TIMES

Dodgers: Kershaw, who turned 27 on Thursday, was a little too efficient and pitched to two extra ”batters” in the bullpen to complete his day. He was happy, for the most part, with his pitches. ”My fastball command was better and I had a better slider, it had more depth on the hitters,” he said. ”The curve was hit or miss and I threw a couple at the end I’d like to have back.”

Dodgers’ catcher A.J. Ellis said Kershaw looked much better than his 3 1-3 inning stint the last time out. ”He got back on a good track today,” Ellis said. ”He was good at driving that fastball into righties.”

Athletics: Gray regrets only that he could not put up a zero after the A’s took a 1-0 lead in third. Otherwise, the A’s opening day starter was satisfied with his performance. ”I gave up a couple of runs but not because of I made awful pitches.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: Kershaw doesn’t think it’s any big deal and expects to feel a little sore Saturday after getting struck by a soft liner. … LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu has not pitched for three days after taking an inflammation reducing injection in his left shoulder. The Dodgers will decide how he proceeds on Saturday.

Athletics: Outfielder Josh Reddick (right oblique strain) said he expected to take some swings off a batting tee Friday. … OF Alex Hassan, out since March 11, will also take swings off a tee. … OF Sam Fuld was hit in the jaw by an errant throw during the seventh inning of the A’s game at Talking Stick and was sent to a local hospital for tests.

UP NEXT

Dodgers: send RHP Chad Gaudin to the mound in one split-squad game at the Colorado Rockies. Gaudin replaces David Huff, who is with his wife, Lisa, for the birth of their son. RHP Zack Greinke starts the game at the Texas Rangers.

Athletics: RHP Jesse Hahn will start against the Cincinnati Reds.