SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Somebody asked Clayton Kershaw whether he wanted to pitch in Australia.
“Ask Donny,” Kershaw said, referring to manager Don Mattingly.
Somebody asked him if he’ll have enough time this spring to prepare for a regular-season outing that soon. He mentioned that pitching coach Rick Honeycutt has mapped out his program for the spring.
“I feel like he knows better than I do,” Kershaw said.
OK. So, while Kershaw re-directs questions about when he’ll make his season debut, it certainly seems as if the Dodgers are planning on leaving their two-time Cy Young winner behind when they embark on their goodwill mission 17 time zones away.
Kershaw made his first start of the spring Wednesday, giving up plenty of hard-hit balls in a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Salt River Fields. Kershaw, who didn’t exactly get stalwart defense behind him, allowed three runs on five hits and a walk in his two innings. He pitched another simulated inning in the bullpen.
If he is, indeed, going to pitch in the Dodgers’ season opener March 22 in Australia, he would have just three more Cactus League starts to get ready. Asked again about the prospect of using his ace overseas, Mattingly said he hadn’t made a decision.
He did, however, present a scenario that might get Kershaw off the hook while still appeasing event organizers in Sydney.
“We’re still at a point in the spring where, if somebody gets a blister or does something to their toe or turns an ankle and is going to miss just one bullpen, it changes that start,” Mattingly said. “That’s why we have to keep four guys ready and, as it gets closer, we’ll make a decision.”
Kershaw was at least more diplomatic than the Dodgers’ No. 2 starter, Zack Greinke, who told ESPNLosAngeles.com last week he had “no excitement” for making the Australia trip. Kershaw made a point of circling back to the Australia issue at the end of his comments to reporters.
“It’s going be fun. We’re going to make the most of it,” Kershaw said. “Both teams are going over there and we’re going play, so we might as well enjoy it.”