Dodgers

Dodgers starter Hyun-Jin Ryu is sharp in his first spring outing

Hyun-Jin Ryu retires all six batters he faces in spring debut for the Dodgers

Hyun-Jin Ryu made his first appearance of the spring Thursday and he looked to be in midseason form, retiring all six batters he faced in the Dodgers' 1-0 win over the San Diego Padres.

Ryu had his spring debut delayed by back soreness that so concerned the Dodgers they ordered the left-hander to undergo an MRI exam last month.

That test showed no structural damage and after his two-inning outing Thursday, Ryu again said there was nothing to be concerned about.

"Obviously, my health is good right now. I'm not worried," he said through an interpreter. "I'm very confident my next game will be [three] innings."

Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly agreed, noting Ryu showed up to spring training early and had thrown several bullpen sessions before developing a sore back.

"Most guys, all you really worry about is arm strength," Mattingly said. "He threw enough [that] we were comfortable.

"And he always throws the ball where he wants so you don't really worry about his location."

Ryu threw 30 pitches Thursday, 22 for strikes, and gave up just one hard-hit ball: Justin Upton's line drive to center that Andre Ethier ran down near the wall leading off the second.

Ryu, who turns 28 later this month, was sidelined three times last season, twice with shoulder problems and once with a strained gluteus muscle. He still managed to make 26 starts, going 14-7 with a 3.38 earned-run average.

"Today was more like preparing for the regular season, for me to get healthy and see my pitch count [increase]," Ryu said. "I didn't even really think about the regular games.

"It was more for … focus."

Over and out

Joc Pederson's ninth-inning home run was the only run the Dodgers needed. But in addition to it being a game-winning hit, what also made the blast memorable was that it sailed over — way over — comedian Will Ferrell, who had entered the game in right field for San Diego to start the inning as part of an HBO project that will also raise money for the fight against cancer.

"I think it's great," Pederson said. "It's raising awareness. Anything to help … to find a cure and save some lives. I'm all for it. What he did was bigger than baseball."

Familiar face

Matt Kemp spent all nine of his big league seasons with the Dodgers before being traded to San Diego in a five-player deal in December.

He made his first appearance against his former team Thursday, bouncing back to the mound in the first inning, lining out to right field in the fourth and striking out in the seventh.

"It was very unique," a smiling Ryu said of facing Kemp. "Who would have thought that I would have experienced something like this? But it was just another hitter. That's what I thought and that's how I treated him."

Short hops

Right-hander Zack Greinke, who missed his first start of the spring after receiving a lubricating injection is his elbow, is expected to accompany a split squad to San Antonio on March 20-21 for a pair of games against a Texas Rangers split squad. Greinke has appeared in one game this spring, throwing two innings. ... Mattingly said catcher Yasmani Grandal, outfielders Yasiel Puig and Pederson, first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and infielder Justin Turner will also make the trip to Texas.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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