Cactus roundup: Kershaw struggles again


PEORIA, Ariz. — Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw made no excuses for his third straight subpar outing.

Kershaw gave up four runs on seven hits, a walk and hit a batsman in three-plus innings of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 7-3 loss Tuesday to the San Diego Padres.

“It doesn’t matter that it’s spring. I focus on results,” Kershaw said. “The best way to gauge how you’re doing is how the hitters react. They’re reacting well, and that’s not good for me. It sucks to give up runs like that, no matter when or where it is.”

Kershaw has struggled in all three of his starts. All told, the 2011 Cy Young Award winner has given up nine runs on 17 hits in eight innings over three starts. He’s already given up more earned runs in three starts than he has in any spring training since 2009, when he was 20 years old.

The Padres were aggressive in the strike zone and jumped on him early. Catcher Nick Hundley hit a two-run homer in a three-run fourth inning that chased Kershaw from the game.

While it is incredibly early and he’s still refining his slider, Kershaw said he was troubled by this spring’s performance.

“Concern might not be the best word, but I’m definitely not confident after giving up that many runs,” Kershaw said. “You can’t say you feel great and that you’re doing great if you’re not seeing the results you want. I’m definitely looking to have a good start here one of these days. That’s always the goal.”

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn’t as concerned as his young ace is. He likes Kershaw’s fire, but sees no reason for alarm.

“Some guys expect everything they’re working on to work all the time,” Mattingly said. “It’s about shooting for perfection, and Clayton strives for that in everything he does. He expects to be really good all the time, which is part of the reason why he’s really good.

“But we also know it’s spring and he got knocked around a bit last spring, too,” Mattingly added. “It’s OK that he’s mad about unsatisfactory results, but we all know he’s going to be fine.”

The status of relief pitcher Shawn Tolleson remains uncertain. He injured his left knee in the eighth inning and was immediately removed from the game. Mattingly said he will be evaluated further on Wednesday, when a formal diagnosis will be announced.

Tolleson was 3-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 2012, with 30 holds in 37 2-3 innings.

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp played his position for the first time since undergoing left shoulder surgery. He didn’t have a putout, but said he felt comfortable on defense. He was 0 for 3 at the plate on Tuesday and is 0 for 8 this spring.

“The offensive timing isn’t down yet,” Kemp said, “but I feel good and I’m swinging and playing without pain.”

Kemp is scheduled to play center field again Wednesday against Team Mexico.

Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin was 2 for 3 with a home run, two runs scored and an RBI. He also made a sliding catch in center field. Padres closer Huston Street pitched a scoreless seventh inning, his best outing of the spring. Starter Jason Marquis gave up one earned run in three innings pitched.


GLENDALE, Ariz. — The U.S. team played to a 4-4 tie with the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday in the first of its two exhibition games leading up to the start of the World Baseball Classic.

It was still a losing afternoon for the Americans.

First baseman Mark Teixeira will miss the tournament after straining his right forearm while swinging in the batting cage before the game. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in Tampa, Fla., that X-rays on Teixeira’s hand and wrist area came back negative.

It was unclear who would replace him on the U.S. team.

Giancarlo Stanton drove in three runs and Ryan Braun went 3 for 4 for the U.S., which opens pool play Friday night against Mexico.

Gordon Beckham went 3 for 3 with an RBI for the White Sox.


PHOENIX — Michael Saunders homered and Justin Morneau drew a bases-loaded walk, helping Canada beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 Tuesday in a prep game ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

Tyson Gillies and Cale Iorg had RBI singles for Canada in a four-run eighth off loser Michael Gonzalez. Left fielder Adam Loewen jumped against the wall to take away an extra-base hit from Josh Prince with two on and two outs.

Saunders homered off Wily Peralta in the fourth.

Richie Weeks and Carlos Gomez had RBI hits for the Brewers, and Khris Davis hit long home run over the grass berm in left-center in the seventh.

Chris Narveson, trying to earn a rotation job, allowed one run and three hits in 2 2-3 innings.

Bobby Crosby, looking to make the Brewers as an infield utility player, made his spring training debut after missing the first eight games with a strained left quadriceps. Crosby walked and struck out.


PHOENIX — Jed Lowrie had two hits that including an RBI double and Yoenis Cespedes drove in a pair of runs to help the Oakland Athletics beat Italy 4-3 Tuesday in an exhibition ahead of the World Baseball Classic.

The Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo homered in the fourth for Italy, which opens the WBC’s first round Thursday against Mexico. Minnesota Twins minor leaguer Chris Colabello also homered and Washington farmhand Mike Constanzo added an RBI double in the ninth.

Costanzo was thrown out at home, ending the game when he tried to score on a wild pitch.

Coco Crisp and Jed Lowrie singled in the scored in the first against starter John Mariotti, who pitched last season for Quebec in the independent Can-Am League.

A’s starter Brett Anderson allowed a hit and a walk in three scoreless innings, striking out three.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Nick Swisher hit one of three Cleveland home runs, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched three scoreless innings and the Cleveland Indians beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 Tuesday.

Brandon Crawford hit a two-run homer for the Giants, who lost their second straight. Brandon Belt also hit a homered.

Swisher hit his second home run of the spring and is now hitting .500.

Matsuzaka allowed five hits and struck out two.

Madison Bumgarner gave up a run on three hits in his two innings for the Giants. He walked one and struck out three

Roberto Perez hit a home run in the top of the ninth to give Cleveland a 4-3 lead. Juan Diaz also homered for the Indians.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Todd Helton got his first hit of spring training and Jeff Francis pitched four scoreless innings Tuesday to carry the Colorado Rockies to a 6-2 victory over the Cubs, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Helton, a .320 hitter who was limited to 69 games and hit a career-low .238 while struggling with hip problems last season, gave Colorado a-1-0 lead in the first with an opposite-field ground-rule double. It was only his second spring game and third at-bat, He ground out sharply to the pitcher in his other at-bat.

Francis ran his spring scoreless innings string to nine. The only hit he gave up was bloop single to starter Scott Feldman, who signed as a free agent with the Cubs after six-plus seasons with the Texas Rangers.

Feldman was rocked for four runs on six hits in facing 13 batters in a little over two innings.


SURPRISE, Ariz. — Bruce Chen and Luke Hochevar combined to allow one run in six innings, and the Kansas City Royals remained undefeated for spring training with an 8-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday.

Oakland’s Bartolo Colon, gave up five runs and seven hits in two innings. The 39-year-old right-hander has allowed eight runs — six earned — on 12 hits in four innings in losing his first two starts.

Chen allowed a run on two hits in three innings and Hochevar gave up three hits and walked one without yielding a run. He struck out the final three batters he faced. They are competing for the final slot in the Royals’ rotation.

Brett Hayes and Brandon Wood homered for the Royals, who are 10-0-1.