SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Clayton Kershaw’s only solace was that the game didn’t count.
Kershaw was visibly displeased with how he pitched in an abbreviated start Saturday that counted as his final tuneup for the regular season.
“Hopefully, all the bad ones are out of my system,” said Kershaw, who will take the ball for the Dodgers in their April 5 opener in San Diego.
Pitching the first 32/3 innings of a 9-3 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Kershaw was charged with three runs, six hits and a walk.
“I gave up runs and hits,” Kershaw said. “It’s usually what constitutes a bad outing.”
The first inning was particularly turbulent as Kershaw threw 25 pitches and served up a two-run home run to Jason Kubel.
“I was deep into a lot of counts, throwing too many pitches,” he said.
His frustrations weren’t shared by the coaching staff.
“He’s got the type of personality that’s never going to be satisfied,” pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said. “It’s what makes him so good.”
Kershaw posted a 2.45 earned-run average in 22 innings this spring.
“He’s ready,” Mattingly said. “He’s healthy. He’s built up.
“The only thing I worry about him any time is that he’s putting pressure on himself to be perfect and not letting it happen.”
Kershaw wasn’t entirely negative in his self-evaluation.
He reported minor improvement in his slider, which has been inconsistent for most of the spring. He conceded that his trouble with the pitch could be the result of Arizona’s arid climate.
“The way I look at it, if you can get a ball to break here, you can get it to break anywhere,” Kershaw said. “Here and Colorado.”
But Kershaw being Kershaw, he wouldn’t leave it at that.
“We have to play 18 times between here and Colorado,” he said.
All that said, Kershaw declared himself ready for opening day.
“Physically, I feel fine,” he said. “I feel healthy. My arm feels good and I’m ready to pitch in the season.”
Andre Ethier fouled back a fourth-inning pitch by Ian Kennedy that sailed into Salt River Fields’ third-deck pressbox and struck former Dodgers vice president Josh Rawitch in the groin. Rawitch was eating noodles in the back of the pressbox at the moment of impact.
“I should have fouled back more,” Ethier said jokingly.
As the head of the Dodgers’ communications department last year, Rawitch orchestrated a campaign that helped Ethier claim the final spot on the National League All-Star team. He is now the Diamondbacks’ senior vice president of communications.
Right-hander Todd Coffey showed up to the Dodgers’ clubhouse in the morning with his red hair dyed black. “The season is going to start,” Coffey said. “It’s not the first time I’ve done it. It won’t be the last.” … Outfielder Trent Oeltjen was optioned to minor league camp. … The Dodgers will take 11 players from minor league camp to Los Angeles next week for the Freeway Series against the Angels. Among them will be Shawn Tolleson, the organization’s reigning minor league pitcher of the year.