Rangers shut out by Kershaw, Dodgers
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Even after three shutout innings, Clayton Kershaw still felt he had room for improvement on Friday.
Kershaw allowed three hits and a walk in three innings in his spring debut and the Los Angeles Dodgers shut out the Texas Rangers 9-0.
“You’ve got to see if you remember how to do it,” Kershaw said. “The first time back I just wanted to work on my fastball command and then my secondary stuff. It starts with the fastball and then you add stuff as you go.”
Kershaw, last year’s NL Cy Young Award winner, went 21-5 with a 2.28 ERA in 2011.
“Once the season starts, all that other stuff is awesome but it’s not important,” Kershaw said. “You have to do a good job of getting your work done before everything else.”
After throwing 28 of his 42 pitches for strikes, Kershaw went to the bullpen to work on a changeup he said was “terrible.”
In the sixth inning, Rangers right fielder Conor Jackson lost a fly ball in the sun. The ball bounced off his glove and then his forehead as Josh Fields raced around for a triple. Jackson received five stitches above his left eye and will continue to be evaluated.
Shortstop Dee Gordon said Kershaw looked “great, as always. He’s incredible to play behind. When he’s pitching, you know you’re going to get a lot of ground balls so you’ve got to be ready.”
Kershaw received offensive support from Matt Kemp, who homered to lead off the third, and Andre Ethier who had an RBI single in the first, tripled in the third and scored on Jerry Sands’ single.
Kershaw also caught a hard line drive off the bat of Adrian Beltre just above the mound to end the first inning.
“I just closed my eyes, stuck my glove out and I got lucky,” Kershaw said.
Juan Rivera and Alex Castellanos also homered for the Dodgers.
Rangers starter Martin Perez, allowed two runs and three hits and three walks in his two-inning spring debut.
“He got behind in the count,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “You can’t get behind in the count and hope to get NL hitters out. They love the fastball there.”
The Dodgers finished with 16 hits off seven Rangers pitchers.
“We only threw 129 pitches in this game,” Washington said, “it’s just what we threw across the plate, the Dodgers didn’t miss.”
NOTES: Dodgers RHP Kenley Jansen was cleared Friday for baseball activities after experiencing heart palpitations on Thursday night. Jansen, who as a rookie struck out 96 batters in 53 2/3 innings, was hospitalized last July with an irregular heartbeat and spent three weeks on the disabled list. … Michael Young returned to the Texas lineup after missing Thursday’s game with a slight left thumb sprain.