GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Clayton Kershaw will have to avoid certain foods for at least a few more days. Everything else seems to be right on track for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ace.
Kershaw struck out eight in six innings, and Yasiel Puig and Jimmy Rollins homered to help the Dodgers defeat the Chicago White Sox 9-6 on Thursday.
The left-hander showed no ill effects from his previous outing against Oakland last Friday, when he was hit in the jaw by a line drive and chipped a tooth. He gave up four hits and a run, walking one and recording at least one strikeout in every inning while lowering his spring training ERA to 1.86.
”Some inconsistencies, but overall I guess the results were there, which is good,” Kershaw said. ”It’s still sore. I can’t eat Jawbreakers or anything. But it’s OK.”
Kershaw still has stitches in from the dental work done earlier this week, but he said they will come out before his next start.
The reigning NL MVP and Cy Young Award winner also had a single and two sacrifice bunts. He scored on Rollins’ two-run homer in the sixth against Daniel Webb.
Rollins also drove in a run with a groundout and hit an RBI double off White Sox starter Brad Penny.
Puig connected in the second inning with a runner aboard off Penny, who is trying to fill a temporary opening in Chicago’s rotation. It was the Cuban outfielder’s fifth home run of the spring; only Cubs prospect Kris Bryant, with nine, has more in the Cactus League.
Enrique Hernandez also homered for the Dodgers, who lead all major league teams with 40 homers and a 13-6 spring training record.
White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu had three of the four hits against Kershaw and is batting .488 (21 for 43) in Cactus League play.
Dodgers: Kershaw, who threw 88 pitches, went back to the bullpen afterward to work the equivalent of another inning as he continues to prepare for the season opener April 6. He has one more spring start next week in Arizona.
”I’d like to throw every pitch perfectly. Until that happens, there’s stuff to work on,” he said. ”But more realistically, just having that better rhythm, just throwing three or four (good innings) in a row as opposed to one or two.
”Until you get out there and it’s the real deal, you never really know if you’re ready,” Kershaw added. ”I guess we’ll find out April 6.”
White Sox: Penny is competing for a spot in place of lefty ace Chris Sale, who will miss the beginning of the season with a foot injury. But the veteran right-hander gave up eight hits and six runs in four innings, increasing his spring ERA to 6.89.
Penny said after the game that he isn’t sure where his next start will be, but the White Sox still have a week before they break camp to make a decision. When Sale returns, he will join Jeff Samardzija, Jose Quintana, John Danks and Hector Noesi in the rotation.
Dodgers: RHP Brandon League returned to Los Angeles for an MRI on his pitching shoulder and is likely to open the season on the disabled list. He has thrown only 1 1-3 innings this spring, giving up seven runs, and his last game was March 9.
White Sox: RHP David Robertson is going through a ”dead arm” issue, but manager Robin Ventura said he didn’t think it would keep the reliever from being ready for the start of the season. Robertson, signed to a $46 million, four-year deal as a free agent, hasn’t pitched in a Cactus League game since Saturday but did throw 20 pitches in a side session Thursday.
”I want to be ready for the games that do count,” said Robertson, the closer for the New York Yankees last season.
Alexei Ramirez’s first-inning walk was his first of the spring in his 43rd plate appearance. And it came against Kershaw, who walked only 31 batters during the 2014 regular season.
Dodgers: Zack Greinke faces the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at Camelback Ranch, while lefty David Huff pitches against the Los Angeles Angels in Tempe during the afternoon.
White Sox: Jeff Samardzija tunes up for his opening-day start by facing the Chicago Cubs on Friday in Mesa. Samardzija started the last two season openers for the Cubs. His mound opponent this time will be his former Cubs and A’s teammate, Jason Hammel.