Carl Crawford is the Dodgers’ de facto fourth outfielder, and also the highest-paid outfielder on the team. (Getty Images)
Sonny Gray dealt the Dodgers their third straight loss, though they remained a half-game up on the San Francisco Giants in the National League West. The photo gallery is here.
The Dodgers’ fourth outfielder has two years and $43,464,000 remaining on his contract after this season.
Third base coach Tim Wallach discussed the strengths (Howie Kendrick, Joc Pederson, Jimmy Rollins) and limitations (sometimes they lose double plays to The Shift) of the Dodgers’ defense with colleague Mark Whicker.
MESA, Ariz. — Clayton Kershaw survived 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.
The starting pitching matchup between Kershaw and Oakland A’s ace Sonny Gray was predictably well pitched. J.P. Howell, Adam Liberatore and David Aardsma all pitched scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
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.):
MESA, Ariz. — The Dodgers held their collective breath for a moment Friday when Clayton Kershaw was struck in the face by a line drive off the bat of Oakland’s Andy Parrino.
In the third inning of the Cactus League game at HoHoKam Stadium, Kershaw was a bit late raising up his glove to deflect the baseball. He appeared to be struck on his left cheek or jaw, then sat on the ground while his teammates gathered around the mound.
Dodgers head athletic trainer Stan Conte sprung out of the dugout and examined Kershaw, who eventually threw a warm-up pitch and was allowed to remain in the game.
With runners on first and third base, Kershaw retired Coco Crisp on a line drive on his next pitch. An RBI single by Craig Gentry gave the A’s their first run later in the inning.
Kershaw remained in the game to pitch the fourth inning. The 2014 MVP/Cy Young Award winner is making his fourth spring training start.