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Dodgers

Dodgers Dugout: Clayton Kershaw knows what Dodgers fans want

Clayton Kershaw health is a key to Dodgers second half
Clayton Kershaw throws during the first inning of a spring training game against the Chicago Cubs on March 8.
(Morry Gash / Associated Press)

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and I'm wondering: Can we harness the energy Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band uses in one show and use it to power Dodger Stadium for the season?

Kershaw gets it

There’s  more than one reason that Clayton Kershaw is the favorite player of many Dodgers fans. Sure, he is the best pitcher on the planet, but there’s a quieter reason too: He understands what fans want. A World Series title. “Once the season ends, nobody cares what you did, except the Royals,” Kershaw told Times baseball columnist Bill Shaikin. “In 2016, no one's done anything. It's another season. You have to prove yourself all over again. Watching guys win the World Series looks like a lot of fun. I'd kind of like to do that.” Catcher A.J. Ellis said that Kershaw sets the same goal for himself every season: He makes 34 starts, the Dodgers win them all, and the Dodgers win the World Series.

That’s what fans want to hear. They don’t want to hear how difficult it is to win the division. We know it’s difficult, we get that. We want to hear: “Our first priority every season is winning the World Series.” Maybe Andrew Friedman can sit down with Kershaw and they can compare notes on how best to fire up your fan base.

Something to worry about

Corey Seager suffered a sprained knee during an exhibition game last week, and will be out a couple of weeks. The injury is not serious, but he might have to start the season on the disabled list.

This brings up a problem: The Dodgers really have only one option at shortstop other than Seager: Kiké Hernandez. They could slide Justin Turner over there, but that’s not a position you want to play when you are coming off microfracture knee surgery, like Turner is. And Manager Dave Roberts points out another reason Seager’s injury is painful: “It sets him back in the sense of the chemistry working with the other middle infielders and being out there, having his legs under him for a couple weeks. But priority No. 1 is to get him back healthy, get his knee strong.”

No matter who starts on opening day, Seager or Hernandez, it will be the sixth different starter at shortstop on opening day in six seasons. Can you name the other five? Answer is below.

Some spring training numbers

Spring training stats are generally meaningless, but it’s always fun just to see how people are doing during exhibition games.

Doing well

Andre Ethier

Scott Van Slyke

Austin Barnes

Joc Pederson

Clayton Kershaw

Mike Bolsinger

Kenta Maeda

Doing poorly

Carl Crawford

Adrian Gonzalez

Kiké Hernandez

J.P. Howell

Kenley Jansen

Trivia answer

The other five opening day shortstops: 2011-Rafael Furcal; 2012-Dee Gordon; 2013-Justin Sellers; 2014-Hanley Ramirez; 2015-Jimmy Rollins.

TV situation

Just a reminder that Vin Scully is heading into his final season, and most of us still can’t watch the Dodgers on TV. A lot of people have emailed me to ask how they can contact the Dodgers or Time Warner or their local cable/satellite provider so they can give their opinion of the TV debacle. Here you go:

For the Dodgers, click here or call 866-DODGERS (866-363-4377)

For Time Warner, click here.

For your local cable or satellite provider, consult your bill for the customer service number and for the website.

Keep sending me the responses you get, and I’ll print a few in the next newsletter.

And finally

Scott Kazmir’s spring-training ERA is similar to the national debt, but he says you shouldn’t be concerned. And don't expect Hyun-jin Ryu to be back with the Dodgers any time soon.

Have a comment or something you'd like to see in a future Dodgers newsletter? Email me and follow me on Twitter: @latimeshouston


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