Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw looks ready for opening day

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw looks ready for opening day
Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw, shown in a March 15 exhibition game against the Mariners, gave up one run and struck out eight in six innings against the White Sox on Thursday. (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

Clayton Kershaw made what is expected to be his longest start of the exhibition season Thursday, limiting the Chicago White Sox to one run over six innings in the Dodgers' 9-6 victory at Camelback Ranch.

Asked if he was ready for the regular season, Kershaw replied, "I better be."


Throwing a spring-high 88 pitches, Kershaw struck out eight. He was charged with four hits and a walk.

Kershaw is expected to scale back his pitch count in his start Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, which will serve as a final tuneup for his opening-day assignment April 6.

Kershaw is 3-0 with a 1.86 earned-run average. In the spring leading up to his MVP season last year, Kershaw was 0-3 with a 9.20 ERA.

"I don't know if I'm any more or less confident, even though I had like a nine ERA last year," he said. "Until you get out there and it's the real deal, you never really know if you're ready. I guess we'll find out April 6."

Kershaw was caught Thursday by newcomer Yasmani Grandal rather than A.J. Ellis, his primary catcher for each of the three seasons in which he won the Cy Young Award. The last time Kershaw was caught by Grandal, he gave up a run, four hits and three walks in 3 1/3 innings.

"Better today," Kershaw said. "I was ahead a little bit more in the counts than last time, so we were able to work in a few more different pitches and stuff. I didn't shake off as much today, so I think it's just that learning process."

Grandal said he has made it a point to observe Kershaw carefully whenever he pitches.

"I've been watching his games and I've been getting a better feel for whatever he wants to do at times in counts, when to double up on something and just kind of seeing how he's feeling out there," Grandal said. "I felt like a couple of batters we were right on the same page."

Doctor's appointments

Brandon League is scheduled to travel to Las Vegas on Friday to visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who will review the results of his recent MRI exam.

League is expected to start the season on the disabled list because of his shoulder problems, which have limited him to two games in the exhibition season.

Asked if League's scheduled trip was an indication of a serious injury, Manager Don Mattingly replied, "I don't want to go there because I don't really know that. But it's obviously a little more than take a couple days off and you'll feel better type of thing."

Non-roster right-hander Chad Gaudin is also scheduled to be examined. He was scratched from a scheduled appearance in a minor league game because he felt a tingling sensation in his fingers. He didn't pitch last season because he underwent a neck operation to treat a nerve problem.

Short hops


Fans who purchase parking passes in advance will be able to access specially designated lanes to enter Dodger Stadium this season. Parking passes, which will cost $20 at the stadium gates, will be discounted by $10 if purchased ahead of time at … The Dodgers announced they have already sold more than 3 million tickets. Never in franchise history has the benchmark been reached at an earlier date, according to the club.

Twitter: @dylanohernandez