Morning injury updates on Zack Greinke (calf), Matt Kemp (ankle), Ross Stripling (elbow).

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke threw three pitches in his first Cactus League start on Thursday before exiting with a cramp in his right calf muscle. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Zack Greinke will receive treatment today on his strained right calf muscle and could be throwing a bullpen session as early as tomorrow.

That was a fairly optimistic outlook one day after Greinke couldn’t get through two batters in his first Cactus League start. Greinke could even play catch today, Mattingly said. He was seen walking through the clubhouse without discomfort.

“Zack actually came in pretty good today,” Mattingly said.

The news was not as upbeat for Ross Stripling, who will undergo a “contrast MRI” on his right elbow after reporting discomfort, Mattingly said. The 24-year-old informed the club that he first felt pain in the elbow “five, six” days ago but didn’t tell the team until after he pitched the final two innings Wednesday against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“He didn’t tell any trainer, he didn’t tell any coach,” Mattingly said. “It’s one of the things we talk about with young guys. It happens every spring. You ask them to let somebody know and they don’t want to tell anybody because they want to compete and show that they’re going to be whatever. Ross is a great kid but it does go back to that same old thing that happens every spring. Hopefully it’s a situation that puts him a little bit behind schedule. A lot of times we feel that if you’re going to take care of it, it may put you behind schedule for two days instead of a week or 10 days, which really pushes you back.”

There is no news on Matt Kemp, who was scheduled to undergo an MRI today on his surgically repaired left ankle. Kemp actually had the MRI Thursday, but Mattingly said that team Dr. Neal ElAttrache would not be relaying the results until “sometime this weekend.”

Kemp took the field with teammates as usual for stretches but still hasn’t been cleared to run. The team is in no rush to have Kemp on the field for the season-opening series in Sydney, Australia on March 22-23. The 29-year-old outfielder figures to begin the season on the disabled list regardless of the MRI results.

Zack Greinke removed from first Cactus League start with right calf injury.

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Zack GreinkeDodgers right-hander Zack Greinke was removed from his first Cactus League start Thursday afternoon three pitches into the game with a mild right calf strain.

“It felt like nothing really,” Greinke said. “There was something there. Stuff like that will happen all the time, then the next pitch it’s gone. This time the next pitch, it wasn’t gone and it took a little while. Usually if you walk it off it goes away, but it didn’t go away. So that was kind of the thing that was different.”

Greinke needed one pitch to retire leadoff hitter Tony Campana on a fly ball to left field. The next batter, Cliff Pennington, took a ball and a strike from Greinke before head athletic trainer Stan Conte visited the mound. Conte and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly watched Greinke take a couple practice pitches and discussed the situation before Greinke walked off on his own power with Conte.

“The first (warmup pitch) that I threw, I didn’t really push off with my leg and it was fine,” he said. “I’m sure I could’ve pitched a whole game not pushing off during the season but right now it’s a risk/reward. I say I’m sure I could’ve — maybe I couldn’t have. The one pitch that I didn’t push off on, I didn’t feel it too much. Then the second one I tried to push a little bit more and I did feel it.”

Chris Withrow came in from the bullpen to finish the at-bat with Pennington.
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Carl Crawford scratched from Dodgers’ lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks as a precaution.

Carl Crawford

Dodgers left fielder Carl Crawford will miss Thursday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. (Associated Press photo)

There were a couple early-morning changes to the Dodgers’ lineup Thursday.

Carl Crawford was removed as a precaution with tightness in his upper right leg. Crawford said that his hamstring was “a little tight” Wednesday, “just the whole day.” The 32-year-old outfielder had an adventure in the field, overrunning a fly ball in the first inning that fell for a triple, and also scored from first base on Yasiel Puig‘s third-inning double.

Crawford said his hamstring felt fine Thursday morning and that he wouldn’t be restricted from anything other than playing in the game. Last year, Crawford missed 30 games with a strained left hamstring.

Manager Don Mattingly said that the issue is with Crawford’s quadriceps muscle and not his hamstring; Crawford had the entire upper leg wrapped after Wednesday’s 4-1 loss to the Diamondbacks. Regardless, Mattingly said that Crawford would get another day off Saturday and potentially return to the lineup Saturday when the Dodgers play the Milwaukee Brewers.

Catcher A.J. Ellis reported to camp with the flu and was sent home. “He didn’t look great,” Mattingly said. Ellis is expected back Friday.

Zack Greinke is scheduled to throw two innings and the starters are expected to play five. The game is set to begin at 1 p.m. (noon Pacific) from Camelback Ranch. Here are the lineups for both teams:

Dodgers Diamondbacks
Dee Gordon 2B Tony Campana CF
Andre Ethier CF Cliff Pennington 2B
Hanley Ramirez SS Chris Owings SS
Adrian Gonzalez 1B Mike Jacobs 1B
Yasiel Puig RF Matt Tuiasosopo RF
Mike Baxter LF Jake Lamb 3B
Juan Uribe 3B Shelley Duncan DH
Tim Federowicz C Danny Dorn LF
Alex Guerrero 2B Tuffy Gosewich C
(Zack Greinke P) (Randall Delgado P)

Arizona Diamondbacks 4, Dodgers 1.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw gave up five hits and three runs in two innings in his first Cactus League start. (Getty Images)

The Dodgers are 0-1. Clayton Kershaw has a 13.50 earned-run average.

“If it wasn’t for that Kershaw guy we’d be in good shape,” manager Don Mattingly quipped.

The takeaways from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ 4-1 victory over the Dodgers at Salt River Fields on Wednesday were limited, to put it mildly.

Among the more meaningful performances, Yasiel Puig twice faced Brandon McCarthy, who will almost certainly be in the Diamondbacks’ major-league rotation if he’s healthy. Puig singled to right field in his first at-bat and doubled in his second at-bat. The latter hit gave the Dodgers their only run when Carl Crawford scored all the way from first base.

Kershaw pitched two innings, allowed five hits, three runs (all earned), walked one and struck out two. He threw 42 pitches — 26 strikes — then “faced two hitters” by throwing about 15 more pitches in the bullpen.

“I wasn’t throwing the ball where I wanted to,” he said. “There were some off-speed pitches I needed to throw better. That one to Montero I struck him out on was probably up, honestly. That one that Pollock hit, there’s just some balls that I left up. Just a lot to work on.”

Kershaw didn’t downplay his pitching line.

“I’m a results-based guy,” he said. “I want to see outs. Today left a lot to be desired.”

The Diamondbacks scored their final run in the eighth inning off Ross Stripling.

Some more postgame notes and observations:
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Matt Kemp and Zack Greinke drafted two teams of Dodgers. How will they line up Sunday?

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Dodgers will play a pair of intrasquad games Sunday and Monday at Camelback Ranch, their first of spring training. Tomorrow’s game begins at 11:30 a.m. on the first back field (closest to the major-league clubhouse) and is free to the public.

The method for choosing position players was interesting.

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Dodgers announce pitching rotation for intrasquad games.

The Dodgers will play two intra-squad games on Sunday, February 23 and Monday, February 24 on the back fields of Camelback Ranch.

Pitchers scheduled to throw Sunday include Matt Magill, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Perez, Brian Wilson, Kenley Jansen and J.P. Howell. On Monday, Stephen Fife, Dan Haren, Chris Reed, Paco Rodriguez and Jamey Wright each will pitch.

Don Mattingly says that Matt Kemp has no schedule for resuming full baseball activities.

Matt Kemp

Matt Kemp sprained his left ankle on July 21, 2013. He had surgery in October and hasn’t been cleared to run since. (Associated Press photo)

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was asked Thursday to outline Matt Kemp‘s timetable for recovery from surgery on his left ankle last October. It’s one of the most burning questions in camp: When will Kemp, who hasn’t been cleared to run since the surgery, be able to resume full baseball activities?

“There’s really no true schedule, I think, with Matt other than when the ankle’s healed he gets to do more,” Mattingly said. “He’s able to hit. He’s hitting off the tee. He’s going to be able to do a lot of things. But included in those things is not going to be running outside. That’s a pretty important part of what he does. Until that ankle lets us know that he can move forward, you can’t really do a whole lot different.”

Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire has been pleased with Kemp’s swings in the batting cage, Mattingly said. Kemp has been able to lift weights normally with his upper body, something he wasn’t able to do all last year while he dealt with a surgically repaired left shoulder. There is some optimism early in camp that Kemp’s power could return to its 2009-12 levels, when he averaged 29 home runs a season.

But, Mattingly said, “until the doctors tell us that (Kemp’s ankle) is totally healed, we don’t really have a schedule for him.”

Daily Distractions: Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig goes under the spring training microscope.


There were no absences, at least no expected absences, on the morning that position players were scheduled to report to spring training. The odd l That meant that a bulk of Don Mattingly‘s morning media discussion focused on Yasiel Puig.

It’s an old lesson, repeated: The guy commands attention.

Mattingly said that Puig’s greatest challenge this year will be to adjust to the pitchers who have already adjusted to him. Puig sported a cartoonish .443/.473/.745 slash line during his first 26 major-league games. In his next 29 games, he was merely great: .322/.413/.475. In his final 46 regular-season games, Puig was this: .234/.324/.437. Whatever that is.

The Dodgers’ mission to revert Puig to his June/July form begins now. That entails a lot of work behind the scenes, in the video room and in the batting cage.

“He has the same material,” Mattingly said. “He has the chance to know what pitchers are doing to him. The guys who make adjustments are the better players.”

The problem with spring training is that Puig will not face the same pitchers he’ll face during the regular season. Many will be in the minor leagues come April, with some exceptions. But if Puig bats, say, .517/.500/.828 like he did last spring, it’s not inherently a sign of progress. The numbers can lie.

In fact, Mattingly said, Puig exhibited the same outstanding strengths and mind-numbing foibles last year in Glendale that fans came to know and love (and occasionally hate) by June. On the field at least, Puig didn’t progress by leaps and bounds over the course of camp.

“What we saw in spring last year was what we saw during the season,” Mattingly said.

The same could be true again this spring. Many will be watching.

While I was driving through the desert yesterday, USA Today’s Jorge Ortiz caught up with Puig.

Some bullet points for a World Radio Day:
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Dodgers pitchers will have a day off Saturday.

Josh Beckett

Associated Press photo

Saturday, every pitcher in camp will have a scheduled day off, designated by Dodgers manager Don Mattingly. This plan was conceived in the off-season because the club does not have a normally scheduled off day this spring.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks leave for Sydney, Australia on March 16. Opening Day is March 22.