For now, Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has timing, confidence.

Hanley Ramirez

Maybe Hanley Ramirez was right when he said that getting game experience at shortstop in the Winter League isn’t as valuable as practicing before the game begins.

Ramirez got a chance to validate his self-confidence in the second inning Saturday. The first batter, Dayan Viciedo, hit a ground ball up the middle. Ramirez ranged to his left, fielded the ball cleanly, then spun and threw Viciedo out.

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If Dodgers pitcher Matt Magill had butterflies in his stomach Saturday, they didn’t show.

Matt Magill had never pitched in a spring training game before Saturday, but you wouldn’t have known that by the results: Matt Magill headHe and non-roster invitee Mark Lowe were the only two pitchers that didn’t allow a run in the Dodgers’ 9-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

Magill entered the game with two outs in the seventh inning. He quickly surrendered an infield single when shortstop Dee Gordon couldn’t pick a hard grounder off his backhand, allowing a run to score (it was charged to Kelvin De La Cruz). Magill then struck out the next three batters he faced and induced a fly ball to end the eighth inning — the only 1-2-3 inning defensively for the Dodgers.

That doesn’t always mean much in spring training, but it was a good sign that Magill was calm. For the 23-year-old from Simi Valley, that was one of two keys.

“Just go out and work on my fastball command,” he said, “and work on not getting too hyped up for the first big-league experience.”

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Clayton Kershaw allows two runs in two innings in spring training debut.

Clayton Kershaw

In one sense, Clayton Kershaw seemed like the same pitcher who has won back-to-back National League ERA titles on Saturday: He was his own harshest critic.

Kershaw allowed four hits, including an Armando Rios double, and two earned runs in his two-inning Cactus League debut. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, it set the tone in a 9-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
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Dodgers-Cubs Spring Training game will benefit Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation.

The Dodgers and Cubs announced they will play a Spring Training game at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium in Tucson on Thursday, March 21 at 1 p.m. with all proceeds going to the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation.

The foundation was established by the Green family in 2011 to receive gifts in memory of Christina-Taylor, the daughter of Dodgers scout John Green and granddaughter of former Cubs GM Dallas Green.

This will mark the Dodgers’ third annual benefit game in Tucson dating to 2011, when the Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played a similar benefit game in Tucson with all proceeds going to the Tucson Together Fund. In addition, The Dodgers Dream Foundation, in partnership with the Diamondbacks, dedicated a Dodgers Dreamfield in Oro Valley, Ariz. on a field that was re-named in memory of Christina-Taylor Green.

“We are very excited the Cubs agreed to play the Dodgers for this year’s game,” John Green said in a statement released by the team. “This game brings everything full circle for me since I played in the Cubs organization and my Dad (Dallas) was their General Manager.”

The mission of the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation is “to honor the life and memory of Christina-Taylor through charitable and educational projects that reflect and embody her interests, values and dreams.”

Brewers 9, Dodgers 4; Dodgers 6, Cubs 3.

Tempers flared in a loss to the Brewers in Glendale, and the Dodgers rapped out 11 hits to beat the Cubs in Mesa, in the team’s final day of split-squad action in spring training.

Both benches were warned in the sixth inning of a 9-4 loss to Milwaukee after Dodgers starter Chris Capuano threw a pitch behind Ryan Braun. That followed a series of hit batters –one (Norichika Aoki) by Capuano and two (Jerry Hairston Jr. and Juan Rivera) by Milwaukee pitchers earlier in the game.

That was the end of the drama, however, and the Brewers scored eight runs over the final three innings to erase a 4-2 deficit.

Capuano allowed two hits, one (earned) run on a solo shot by Braun, walked one and struck out seven in six innings. His Cactus League ERA stands at 2.75. Matt Guerrier relieved him in the seventh inning and gave up a 3-run home run to the first batter he faced, Brooks Conrad, in his first game since March 11.

Guerrier was actually pitching his third game in five days, including minor-league games, and afterward declared himself free of any back pain and healthy to start the season.

“As far as I am concerned, (the injury) was over a week ago,” he said.

The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez hit a three-run home run off losing pitcher Jamey Wright in the seventh inning. Todd Coffey gave up three hits and four runs — none earned, thanks to a Jake Lemmerman error –in two-thirds of an inning. His spring ERA ballooned to 7.71.

Andre Ethier doubled and homered in four at-bats, giving him 15 extra-base hits among his 18 this spring.
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White Sox 3, Dodgers 1.

Aaron Harang threw six strong innings, but the White Sox (11-15) prevailed against the Dodgers (12-11-4) before an announced crowd of 5,091 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Harang allowed six hits — all singles — walked one, and struck out six in six innings. Three of those singles came in the fifth inning, allowing Chicago to score its only run against the 6-foot-7 right-hander. Harang threw 104 pitches, 66 for strikes, and left with the score tied 1-1. In his last two starts, spanning 11 innings, he has allowed two runs and 11 hits.

Reliever Josh Lindblom allowed a solo home run to Trayce Thompson in the seventh inning and Scott Rice served up an RBI single to Adam Dunn in the eighth.

The Dodgers got their only run when Josh Fields singled and came around to score on an A.J. Ellis sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

Two days after bunting a ball into his groin, Juan Uribe went 2-for-3. Juan Rivera doubled and a single by Ellis accounted for the Dodgers’ fifth hit of the game.

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 4, White Sox 3.

Jerry Sands‘ walk-off single drove in pinch-runner Elian Herrera in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Dodgers (11-8-4) to the win before 5,816 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Sands’ single was just his sixth hit in 38 Cactus League at-bats, and it came at a critical time as the roster is trimmed in advance of opening day.

“I’ve been feeling pretty brutal just trying to work on some things,” Sands said. “Changes here and there, just trying to get comfortable now after making some changes, all kinds of stuff. Just trying to get rhythm and timing after making changes is the hardest thing.

With two strikes against him, Sands lined a single into left field that Kosuke Fukudome could not field cleanly, allowing Herrera to score easily from second base. It was only the sixth hit by the Dodgers all afternoon, as starter Chad Billingsley allowed 11 hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work.

All of those hits were singles, however, and Chicago left nine runners on base. Billingsley also walked two and struck out five.

Dee Gordon stole two bases, giving him a major league-leading 10 this spring. Andre Ethier‘s fifth-inning double was his eighth, tying him for the major league lead with a pair of luminaries, Lorenzo Cain and Matt Carpenter.

A few more notes:

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Dodgers 5, Cubs 0.

Ted Lilly (1-1) threw three shutout innings and a four-run second inning lifted the Dodgers to their second shutout victory in three days before an announced crowd of 10,380 at Camelback Ranch. [box score]

Lilly allowed one hit, a single, and walked one in his second appearance of the spring.

“I treated this game more like a regular-season game. The only pitch I didn’t throw much or well is my slider,” Lilly said, adding that the slider was “ineffective” against his former team.

The Dodgers needed only seven hits. Two came off the bat of Trent Oeltjen, including a hustle double on a routine grounder up the middle that made Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd look lazy. Matt Guerrier, Todd Coffey, Mike MacDougal, John Grabow, Alberto Castillo and Will Savage all threw scoreless innings out of the bullpen. None has allowed a run so far this spring.

Guerrier made it interesting by loading the bases in the fourth inning on three walks, but he got out of his own jam. After the game, manager Don Mattingly had nothing but praise for Guerrier: “Last year [the movement on his pitches] looked more side to side. This year it’s late,” Mattingly said.

As for the team’s 4-1-2 Cactus League record?

“Last year I’m saying that they don’t really matter and we’re losing,” the manager said, “and it’s the same this year.”

A few more notes:
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Dodgers 10, White Sox 6.

The Dodgers concluded a long day of baseball with a ninth-inning rally against the Chicago White Sox before an announced crowd of 8,310 at Camelback Ranch on Saturday. [box score]

Cory Sullivan’s grand slam — his first home run of the spring –capped the comeback win for the Dodgers (4-1-2), who trailed 6-5 after the White Sox scored the go-ahead run off Michael Antonini in the eighth inning.

The game began at 7:05 p.m. local time and ended three hours and 39 minutes later (the Dodgers’ two games Saturday lasted a combined 6 hours and 16 minutes). Players and coaches get to report bright and early tomorrow for a 12 p.m. game against the Cubs –they had played no earlier than 1 p.m. local time through the first week.

With the teams even at 5-5, Antonini surrendered an RBI double to Ray Olmedo in the bottom of the eighth inning. But Ivan DeJesus scored from third base on a wild pitch to tie the game at 6 in the top of the ninth. That merely set the stage for Sullivan’s dramatic grand slam.

Chad Billingsley struggled in his second Cactus League start, allowing six hits and three runs –all earned –in 2 1/3 innings. His line would’ve looked better if Josh Lindblom had not allowed a three-run homer to Tyler Flowers, the first batter he faced out of the bullpen. Both runners belonged to Billingsley.

“I struggled a little bit early just finding my rhythm,” he said, “but overall I was pretty happy. My curveball was sharp. I threw some changeups, my fastball was missing a little down and off the plate but that’ll come.”

While Nate Eovaldi threw three innings earlier in the day, Billingsley appeared to get a quick hook, but that wasn’t necessarily the case. He said he was given a pitch count in the 50-60 range, not an innings quota (Billingsley threw 53 pitches).

Juan Rivera and Jerry Hairston Jr. hit home runs. One day after his minor heart scare, Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless seventh inning, allowing one hit and striking out one.