MESA, Ariz. — Clayton Kershawsurvived a scary incident in the Dodgers’ 2-1 win over the Oakland A’s. His postgame comments are above. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said “it obviously scared all of us a little bit, but once we get out there you could tell he wasn’t totally” hurt. You can view/hear his comments here.
And this is why spring training wins, losses and ties mean little. Blake Smith, an outfielder-turned-pitcher who finished last year at Double-A, was sent out for the ninth inning to protect a 2-1 lead. He did not. The A’s loaded the bases and won the game 3-2 on a two-out RBI single (after a nice double play turned by first baseman Cody Bellinger).
For the record, the Dodgers’ Cactus League record is 8-4-6. The box score is here.
Some more observations from the Dodgers’ first game of the day (the split-squad game in San Antonio begins at 5 p.m.):
Erik Bedard is starting the game against the Chicago White Sox. Note that designated hitters are used during the early weeks of Cactus League play. National League teams will be able to use their pitchers as the season approaches and the list of position players in camp thins out.
Mattingly also told reporters that Jimmy Rollins will bat leadoff this year. Rollins has led off 1,459 games in his career, so the manager had a fairly easy call here. The onus is on Rollins to prove that he can handle the job for a full season at age 36.
You might have noticed that Yasiel Puig is not in the lineup. That means he’ll likely play the next two days — Thursday and Friday, in one of the Dodgers’ split-squad games. Mattingly prefers to give his “regulars” two days of work followed by one day off. Looks like Puig is getting his day off early.
And hey, he can’t be late to the first game of the season.