PHOENIX — It was only a spring-training game, but it didn't matter.
"It matters to me," Clayton Kershaw said.
Kershaw was upset Monday after making his second exhibition-season start, which was even worse than his first.
Facing the Oakland Athletics, he pitched two perfect innings, only to implode in the third, giving up three walks and two run-scoring singles. He was removed by Manager Don Mattingly before recording an out.
"Physically, I feel great," Kershaw said. "I don't have any excuses. I don't know. I'm searching for answers right now."
Kershaw left with the Dodgers trailing 3-1. Two remaining baserunners scored, so he was charged with five runs.
Five days earlier, he gave up three runs and five hits in two innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Kershaw acknowledged he was concerned. He said he hasn't felt right the entire spring, even in bullpen sessions.
"I haven't felt great yet," he said. "The first two innings I thought I maybe figured some things out. Maybe I did, but it really doesn't matter after the third inning."
That these games don't matter was of little consolation to him.
"I don't believe you come in to get ready," he said. "You're supposed to be ready to go every time you pitch."
With Zack Greinke throwing on flat ground for the fourth consecutive day as he tries to come back from a strained calf muscle, Mattingly all but officially ruled him out for the Dodgers' season-opening series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Australia.
"He's not going to be at 90 pitches by then," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers still haven't named their pitchers for the two-game series, but Diamondbacks Manager Kirk Gibson announced on Twitter that Patrick Corbin would start the first game and Trevor Cahill the second.
Pitching prospect Ross Stripling traveled to Los Angeles to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who reviewed the results of the recent MRI exam on his elbow. … Kershaw was among six major league players named to the advisory board of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, a nonprofit group that educates young athletes on the dangers of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.
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