Clayton Kershaw takes a small step in latest Dodgers' outing

Clayton Kershaw takes a small step in latest Dodgers' outing
Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw lowered his spring earned-run average to 10.00 by giving up two runs in five innings on Sunday to the Giants. (Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

There's not much time to get it right this spring, what with the Dodgers playing a condensed exhibition season before starting the 2014 campaign in Australia later this month.

In a week the Dodgers will actually get on a plane and head for Sydney. One quick week. So you can understand if Clayton Kershaw would prefer to be rounding into early form, rather than looking like a pitcher still working into shape.

In his third outing of the spring, Kershaw was less than sharp in five innings Sunday, giving up a pair of runs on five hits in the Dodgers’ 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants at Camelback Ranch.

It was, though, actually the best of his three starts, lowering his earned-run average to 10.00. His career spring ERA is 3.45.


"Definitely the results were a little bit better," Kershaw said to reporters in Phoenix. "Still some things I need to work on. But for the most part, it was a positive step in the right direction."

Kershaw, named earlier Sunday as the Dodgers’ opening-day starter against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia, gave up a two-out, two-run homer to infielder Brandon Hicks in the second.

Kershaw threw 70 pitches and is expected to have one more spring start before the opener March 22 in Australia. In his nine total innings this spring, he has given up 10 runs on 12 hits and a walk, with five strikeouts.

"Any time you get to start opening day, no matter what continent, it's an honor," he said. "It's pretty cool."

That leaves precious little time to both work on his pitches and build up arm strength, but that's the set-up for the left-hander with the new record $215-million contract.

"I'll be ready," Kershaw said.

Reliever Javy Guerra made his fourth scoreless appearance of the spring (five innings), but still appears to be caught in a numbers crunch in the bullpen.

The Dodgers’ offense continued to underwhelm. They managed six hits against six pitchers –- including Brett Bochy, son of Giants Manager Bruce Bochy –- but were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 runners on base.