AT THE PLATE: Matt Kemp launched his third homer of the spring, a solo shot against left-hander Ryan Merritt, in the seventh inning. It ended a tied score. The Dodgers did not produce a hit during the first four innings. Yasmani Grandal delivered the team’s first hit with a solo homer in the fifth inning.
ON THE MOUND: Rich Hill intensified and simplified his throwing program in the offseason. He took only two weeks off after Game 7 of the World Series before starting to throw again. He focused on his fastball and his curveball, his two primary pitches, eschewing the hours he once spent searching for a useful third pitch. Hill credited this strategy for his improved readiness this spring. He had given up 27 runs in 28 innings the previous two springs, but he made his Cactus League debut Monday with one run given up in three innings.
“It’s the two pitches that I’m very good at, and I want to continue to improve those and make those strengths extremely strong,” Hill said. “I realize that, and don’t waver from that.”
SHORT HOPS: A bout with illness slowed Corey Seager in the throwing program for his right elbow, but manager Dave Roberts indicated it was possible Seager might play shortstop this week. Seager has been confined to the designated hitter role, which he was Monday. … The Dodgers will see a familiar face Tuesday when they travel to Mesa, Ariz. Yu Darvish will start for the Chicago Cubs, facing the Dodgers for the first time since departing in free agency in the offseason.
UP NEXT: Chicago Cubs at noon Tuesday at Sloan Park. No TV. No radio.