SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Kershaw gave his manager a scare.
Kershaw was hit in the left Achilles tendon by a hard hit ball off David Murphy’s bat in the fourth inning of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 4-0 loss to a Texas Rangers split squad on Saturday.
“I might be a little sore tomorrow, but it’s fine,” he said. “It’s one of those things that will get worse if you don’t do stuff and if you sit around. You might as well finish out your outing. I’ll ice it (Saturday) and it should be fine.”
He sure was fine on the mound, giving up two singles in six scoreless innings. The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner struck out six and walked none. But immediately after he departed, the Rangers scored four runs off Brandon League.
Mattingly said he is not concerned “at this point” about Kershaw’s foot. Kershaw did not allow another base runner after Murphy’s hit and threw 47 strikes in 70 pitches.
“Obviously, you hate to see something like that happen, especially in a spring training game to a player of that caliber,” Murphy said. “I was hoping, as much as they were, that he was fine. He looked fine after he stayed in.”
Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison, an 18-game winner and All-Star selection last year, held the Dodgers to only Alfredo Amezaga’s single to leadoff the game, in five innings.
“A real good pitching duel,” Murphy said. “I think you saw two aces at their best today. Kershaw we don’t see him much being in the American League, but he was as advertised today. And Harrison was just as good. It’s fun when you can move through the early part of the game quickly and the pitchers do their thing and we can put some runs on the board late and get a win.”
Murphy homered on League’s second pitch to start a four-run seventh.
“We had to do something,” Murphy said. “I think we were all so just excited that he (Kershaw) was out of there.”
Mattingly saw Kershaw, who turns 25 Tuesday, looks ready to start the season.
“There are definitely some things to work on, but it’s a continual, gradual improvement from the last start,” Kershaw said. “The first thing is get that fastball command to both sides and from there mix in some breaking balls for strikes. There is definitely some things I need to work on for the next couple of starts before the opener. Overall, I’m happy with the progression. You want to feel locked in every start, regardless of when it is. Hopefully, every start you’re locked in.”
After allowing 17 hits and eight earned runs in eight innings in his first three spring training starts, Kershaw has given up four hits and one unearned run in 11 innings in his past two starts.
League, who turned 30 Saturday, did not have a good birthday outing, permitting four runs on four hits and two walks, while retiring only one of the seven batters he faced.
“You never want to give up runs, but I’d rather give them up here and get that out of his system,” Mattingly said. “I’m not going to be concerned over one outing.
NOTES: Rangers RHP Kyle McClellan, a non-roster invitee, was scratched from a start Sunday with a strained right lat muscle and won’t resume a throwing program for three to four weeks. McClellan, who won 12 games in 2011 for St. Louis but was limited to 16 relief appearances last season with shoulder and elbow injuries, is expected to miss the first month of the season. . The Rangers used Lance Berkman as the designated hitter, but Kershaw hit, going 0 for 2. Berkman’s average dropped to .154 after going hitless in his two at-bats, but he did walk in the seventh.