Highlights from the Dodgers' 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday:
AT THE PLATE: Joc Pederson doubled off Royals starter Kris Medlen in his first at-bat, and even after a pair of strikeouts to end his day, his Cactus League batting average was .321. His performance this spring has pleased Manager Dave Roberts, who credited Pederson for his work with hitting coach Turner Ward and assistant hitting coach Tim Hyers. "They want Joc to slow down and see the baseball," Roberts said. "He's got a little bit more rhythm. I think that sometimes he gets a little bit long with his swing. But when he tempers it a little bit, he's right where he needs to be. You look at the last week, he's swung the bat pretty well."
ON THE MOUND: In his first start after a bout of forearm soreness, Alex Wood turned in three efficient innings. He gave up a run and three hits and struck out four. "It's nice to go back out there and have a start and come out scot-free and feel good," Wood said. "It was definitely nice to get that out of the way." Ross Stripling pitched two scoreless innings and continued to impress Roberts. The Dodgers do not view Stripling as a candidate for the opening day rotation, but Stripling could contribute later in the season. "There's a lot to like," Roberts said. "We see him as a major league starter." J.P. Howell gave up a two-run homer to Kendrys Morales.
EXTRA BASES: Roberts expects Howie Kendrick to play second base Friday in his first action as a fielder since injuring his groin this month. Kendrick was the designated hitter in two games this week. … Hyun-Jin Ryu conceded that he may not be ready to pitch for the Dodgers until June. He has been delayed in his return from shoulder surgery last May.
UP NEXT: Diamondbacks on Friday, 1 p.m. at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. On the air: Radio: 570.
— Andy McCullough