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By Jon Weisman
In his first start since his dental denting last week, Clayton Kershaw gave up one run in the first inning today, then delivered five shutout innings, striking out eight, in the Dodgers’ 9-6 victory over the White Sox.
Jose Abreu went 3 for 3 against Kershaw. The rest of the White Sox were 1 for 19 with a walk.
Yasmani Grandal was behind the plate today for Kershaw. “I’ve been watching his games and have a better feel for what he wants to do in certain counts, when to double-up and just see how he’s feeling out there,” Grandal told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com. “The more I catch him, the better I’ll get.”
Said Kershaw: “Better today. We were ahead in the counts more. I didn’t shake him off as much. It’s a learning process.”
Kershaw also sacrificed twice (once with two strikes) and had a two-out single.
After throwing 88 pitches today, Kershaw will scale back for his final Cactus League outing, scheduled on five days’ rest against Kansas City on Wednesday, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Times, before taking his Opening Day start on four days’ rest April 6.
The power-happy Dodgers delivered three more homers, including booming shots by Yasiel Puig and Kiké Hernandez and Jimmy Rollins’ first of the spring. Rollins also doubled and had four RBI, and threw out the quick Emilio Bonifacio today from the outfield grass.
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- Chad Gaudin, who missed the 2014 season because of neck surgery, has had a recurrence of neck discomfort, according to Gurnick. Gaudin will have an MRI, the latest in a series following Brandon League (who will have a follow-up exam Friday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache), Erik Bedard and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
- There was some pregame mischief today with Tommy Lasorda and a golf cart, writes Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
- The Dodgers have sold their 3,000,000th ticket on their earliest date ever, the team has announced.
- Don Mattingly, speaking to MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby about the concerns over low offense in baseball: “The commissioner (Rob Manfred) talked about banning shifts,” Mattingly said. “Why don’t we teach guys to hit? Go back to teaching hitters to use the whole field and keep the ball in the strike zone.”
- It’s hard not to like Eric Stephen’s bullpen battle flowchart at True Blue L.A.
- The Dodgers sit fourth in right field and 11th in left field on Fangraph’s positional power rankings.
- If you can’t get enough overviews of the Dodgers’ top prospects, here’s Jim Callis of MLB.com with his latest.